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DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 
AFTER DEATH 



DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

IN THREE VOLUMES 

I BEFORE DEATH 
II AT THE MOMENT OF DEATH 
III AFTER DEATH 



DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

AFTER DEATH 

Manifestations and Apparitions of the 
Dead; The Soul after Death 

BY 

CAMILLE FLAMMARION 



TRANSLATED BY 

LATROBE CARROLL 




THE CENTURY CO. 

New York and London 
1923 






Copyright, 19f3, by 
The Century Co. 



Copyright, 1922, by 
Ernest Flammarion 



PRINTED IN IT. S. A. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I A General Investigation 3 

II The Dead Who Have Returned according to 

Previous Agreements 46 

III The Dead Who Have Returned to Attend to 

Personal Affairs 72 

IV Manifestations and Apparitions from a Few 

Minutes to an Hour after Death .... 107 

V Manifestations from One to Twenty-Four 

Hours after Death ........ 133 

VI Manifestations and Apparitions from One Day 

TO One Week after Death 168 

VII Manifestations and Apparitions from One 

Week to One Month after Death .... 206 

VIII Manifestations and Apparitions from One 

Month to One Year after Death .... 233 

IX Manifestations and Apparitions during the 
Second, Third, and Fourth Years after 
Death 262 

X Manifestations and Apparitions from Four to 

Thirty Years after Death 297 

XI Manifestations of the Dead in Spiritistic 

Experiments 319 

XII Conclusions from the Three Volumes of This 

Work 346 



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in 2011 with funding from 

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DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

AFTER DEATH 



Death is our common lot. Material riches are won 
and lost. Let thy life be inspired by the purest justice! 
Be beyond reproach in relation to others and to thyself. 
Seize every opportunity to learn. In this way thou 
wilt lead a most pleasurable life. 

Ponder these thoughts. When thou art filled by them 
thou wilt be enabled to conceive of the nature of Grod, 
of men, and of things, and to account for the unity of 
all creation. Thou wilt then know this universal law, 
that everywhere in the world matter and spirit are in 
principle identical. 

Continue the work of liberating thy soul by making a 
judicious and well-considered choice in all things, to 
the end that thou mayest assure the triumph of what 
is best in thyself — the triumph of the spirit. Then, 
when thou leavest thy mortal shape, thou wilt rise into 
the ether and, ceasing to be mortal, wilt thyself assume 
the form of an immortal god. 

Pythagoras. 



DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 

The truths of mathematics can be 
passed upon only by mathematicians. I 
despise the judgment of ignorant mathe- 
maticians. 

Copernicus. 

OUR volume ''At the Moment of Death," the second 
of this metaphysical trilogy, left its readers certain 
of the reality of phantasms of the living, of appari- 
tions and manifestations of the dying, — occurring at every 
variation of distance, — and of telepathic transmissions. It 
ends with this question: Shall we obtain the same absolute 
proofs, the same certainty as to the real existence of the 
dead? 

**This is a book written in good faith," said Montaigne in 
his unforgetable "Essays." The same affirmation must be 
made concerning the present work. 

We now reach the door of the closed temple. But in our 
journeys to the frontier of the two worlds that door has al- 
ready seemed to open half-way. The purpose of this third 
volume is to prove survival after death, hy scientifically ob- 
served facts, by the same experimental method, apart from 
all religious beliefs. 

Reason, meditation may aid in the search for truth, but 
they do not suffice, have not sufficed, up to the present time, 
to discover truth. Positive observation is indispensable to 

3 



4 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

insure conviction. Theories mean nothing if they are not 
based upon realities. 

It is remarkable that the supreme question of whether we 
are ephemeral or lasting, of whether or not we survive death, 
has remained, so far, outside the sphere of the recognized 
sciences. The dweller upon this earth is a strange being. 
He lives upon a planet without knowing where he is, and 
without having the curiosity to ask himself — without seeking 
to know his own nature ! 

It is time to assault the stronghold of time-honored igno- 
rance, without concealing any difficulty, any objection. 

Before plunging into our investigation, and in order not to 
run the risk of wasting our time — for nothing is more absurd 
than waste of time — it seems to me that my first duty, out 
of respect to the numberless readers who are doing me the 
honor of following me, is to take in at one glance of recapit- 
ulation the thousands of communications which have been sent 
me. I must then add to these, mentally, the thousands of 
observations made in all countries and at all epochs, and see 
if some few of them offer such a weight of evidence that they 
give us promise of the desired certainty, free us from the 
fear of spending our time fruitlessly, and warrant our con- 
tinued consideration of the subject of inquiry. Later we 
shall have occasion to classify by categories the phenomena 
observed. Let us, then, first make a rapid survey which will 
in itself throw some light upon our field of investigation. 

Out of the four thousand eight hundred letters which I 
have received from correspondents with whom I was — or 
found myself afterward— in touch, and whose sincerity and 
moral integrity I have had reason to esteem, I have selected 
only a few hundreds of manifestations from among those 
which seemed to me unquestionable. I have proceeded ex- 
actly as we do in scientific journals when we make public 
an astronomical observation, a meteorological or a geological 
observation. I have been much more exacting, even. Here is 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 5 

no romance, no phantasy, but rigorous observation. Those 
readers who might accuse me of a lack of method in this work, 
or in the preceding work ''L'Inconnu" (''The Unknown"), 
will show themselves to have been too indolent to go into 
the subject thoroughly, or prove that they are completely 
lacking in the power of analysis. 

Let us have no preconceived convictions, either religious 
or anti-religious. In the most irrational beliefs one often 
discovers a basis of misinterpreted truth. Let us investigate 
freely and draw our conclusions. There are people with 
closed minds. Let us not adopt their point of view. "As 
for me," a certain obdurate denier said one day to a free 
seeker, ''I believe only in what I can understand." — ''And 
every one knows you believe in nothing!" replied the free 
seeker. 

The principles of the scientific method bid us accept only 
with extreme circumspection stories of phenomena that are 
outside the natural course of events, holding them, at first, 
under suspicion, precisely because they are extraordinary and 
inexplicable. And it is difficult to decide at the outset as to 
the sincerity and perfect mental balance of narrators. I 
might mention more than one pseudo-historian troubled in 
no way with a respect for the truth. The signer's name is not 
always a guarantee'. The simple account of an observation 
made by an attentive, serious-minded witness without literary 
pretensions is often of greater worth than that of a profes- 
sional writer. We may even have reason to think that an 
author of romance, accustomed to writing fiction, is quite 
capable of putting forward errors as reality, without the 
least misgivings of conscience. Consequently, all accounts 
must first be held under suspicion. But to declare all of 
them inadmissible is simply stupid. There are real occur- 
rences. Despite the inexactness of historical testimony, I 
take the liberty of repeating the statement that Louis XVI 
died on the guillotine on January 21, 1793, in Paris, and that 



6 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

the body of Napoleon lies in a marble sarcophagus in the 
Invalides. Let us, therefore, proceed, (1) with prudence; 
(2) with entire freedom of judgment. 

The method which we have adopted in our investigation 
appears to us the most certain, the most unassailable method. 

We have ascertained, in the second part of this work, that 
the soul, when leaving the body, manifests itself in various 
ways, often at great distances from the spot where death takes 
place. But the manifestations might come from a person still 
living, for the precise moment of death is extremely difficult 
to determine psychologically. 

We have read of varied phenomena of the soul in a state 
between life and death, phenomena which do not seem to be 
manifestations of the dead. We have not wished to hide the 
objections which surround the problem to be solved ; we have 
looked difficulties in the face, for scientific research is, above 
all, open and honest. We must with the same honesty, the 
same sincerity, the same independence of spirit inquire into 
the facts now to be revealed to us. 

We must investigate impartially, discuss and interpret a 
large number of phenomena which appear to be manifestations 
of the dead. Certain faculties of the soul exist,— faculties 
that are unknown or little investigated, — such as psychic 
transmissions at a distance, the will functioning without the 
medium of word or sign, telepathy, seeing without eyes, hear- 
ing without ears, and the foreseeing of the future. The work- 
ing of these faculties under different conditions has revealed 
the existence of an individual soul, a soul which, from this 
time on, must no longer be considered an effect but a cause. 
The subject-matter with which we are here beginning to deal 
will bring us positive and explicit testimony of survival after 
death. The phenomena which we shall consider, all equally 
inexplicable, will oblige us to admit the existence in us of a 
spiritual element differing from the physiological, physical, 
mechanical, and chemical attributes of the animal organism 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 7 

— a veritable psycMc substance, which the dissolution of the 
body leaves intact. 

But the value of our conclusions is closely bound up with 
the rigor of our method. We must consider ourselves the 
less authorized to attribute to the dead all inexplicable oc- 
currences, from the fact that the first volume of ''Death and 
Its Mystery" (''Before Death") led us to suspect the exist- 
ence of human faculties as yet indeterminate. 

We shall have before our eyes manifestations and appari- 
tions observed after death; we shall have frequent examples 
of spirits carrying out intentions expressed when they were 
alive. Our duty is, unquestionably, to seek first to explain 
these manifestations as acts of the living, through mental 
faculties; but we shall realize that with the best will in the 
world this is not easy, and that, if we have no prejudice, 
we are forced to admit the existence of will on the part 
of those dead. 

Intercourse between the dead and the living is communica- 
tion between spirits at a certain phase of existence and other 
spirits at a totally different phase; communication taking 
place through a means distinct from, that of the physical 
organs, since in the other world these organs no longer exist. 
Let us make a careful investigation, without confijiing our- 
selves to any rigid system of thought. 

In this investigation we shall continue to follow the prin- 
ciple which has guided us up to the present : no empty phrases, 
no dissertations, no hypotheses, but facts. 

At the very outset let us state that the posthumous phe- 
nomena which we shall examine are not in contradiction to 
the biological law of continuity. They show, on the contrary, 
that life goes on beyond the tomb — goes on quite simply, 
quite naturally. Apparitions at the moment of death have 
thrown a bridge between the two worlds; they lead us di- 
rectly, with no break in continuity, to apparitions after 
death. 



8 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Science must investigate psychic phenomena, as it does 
physical phenomena, without being halted by improbabilities. 
Before the discovery of Hertzian waves, could we have brought 
ourselves to adiuit that an electric wave could be sent, with- 
out wires, a distance of thousands of kilometers ? Should we 
;not have laughed if some one had asserted that a metal object 
contained in a thick wooden box could be photographed? 
Should we not have called any one mad who told us that we 
should one day see photographs of our bones, taken through 
our flesh and our clothing? Were not all things open to 
investigation? Are they not still open? 

It is a mistake to disregard manifestations under the pre- 
text that they are infrequent and exceptional; it is unscien- 
tific. The discovery of X-rays was due to an accident; that 
of argon was due to an anomaly in the habitual behavior of 
nitrogen; it was the variance between the observed and the 
calculated position of Uranus which revealed the existence 
of Neptune; and so on. 

Do we understand telepathic transmissions at the moment of 
death ? No. Are they absolutely indubitable ? Yes. They 
are of still more frequent occurrence than I have led readers 
to believe. While I was writing these pages (July, 1921) 
I received the following letter from my illustrious friend 
Camille Saint-Saens, who died several months afterward 
(December 16th), to the grief of his admirers: 

While I was rereading your last volume for the nth time, a 
recollection awakened in my memory, and I shall not wait until 
to-morrow to tell you of it. 

It was in January, 1871, on the last day of the war. I was at 
the front lines, at Arcueil-Cachan. We had just dined upon an 
excellent horse, of which we had made a good meat broth, and 
had gathered a great many dandelions, the roots of which, at that 
time of the year, are fully developed; in a word, a dinner that 
had satisfied us all, and we were on that day as gay as we could 
be in such circumstances. Suddenly I heard, running through my 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 9 

head, the musical dirge of melancholy chords which I have since 
made the beginning of my Requiem. I felt in the depths of my 
being the presentiment that a misfortune was happening to me. 
A profound anguish overwhelmed me. 

It was at that very moment that Henri Regnault had been killed; 
I was bound to him by the closest friendship. The news of his 
death caused me such grief that I fell ill and was obliged to stay 
in bed for three days. 

I experienced, therefore, the reality of telepathy before the word 
was invented. How right you are in thinking that established 
science does not know the human being, and that we have every- 
thing to learn! 

Yours with all my heart, 

C. Saint-Saens. 

(Letter 4565.) 

The foregoing is still another psychic occurrence to add to 
all those which my readers have passed judgment on. The 
name of the man to whom it happened lends it especial value. 

Telepathic communication from one soul to another during 
life is not to be doubted. Nor is it doubtful after death. 

Given our present knowledge of radiations, of physical and 
psychic forces, and of the atomic structure of matter, it seems 
to me that from this time oi we shall be in a position to 
analyze our subject-matter with greater profit than would 
have been possible even a short time ago, in the well-founded 
hope of attaining results of great importance. Let us, then, 
investigate this serious subject in all its aspects, avoiding pre- 
conceived ideas which might prevent our judging freely. 

I shall first present, for the impartial consideration of 
my readers, a series of observations which appear to me 
absolutely conclusive. Such must be the logical beginning of 
this third volume, that it may deserve its title, ''After Death." 

One of the most conclusive manifestations of the dead that 
I know of was that described by a positivist and sincere mate- 



10 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

rialist, Dr. Caltagirone of Palermo. He gave it as his own 
experience. Let ns listen to the personal version which he 
recounts. (The occurrence took place not long ago, in De- 
cember, 1910.) 

I was a friend of Benjamin Sirchia; his physician, in fact. 
Sirehia, well known in Palmero, was an aged patriot, and very 
popular. He had splendid civic and moral virtues. He was, like 
me, a skeptic, in the widest meaning of the term. 

One day, in May, 1910, we happened to discuss psychic phenom- 
ena. I answered his questions by assuring him that, speaking 
from my own experience, certain of these phenomena were real, 
but that the interpretations given them were debatable. In the 
course of this conversation he said to me jestingly: 

"Listen, Doctor. If I die before you, which is probable, since 
I 'm old and you 're still young, strong, and healthy, I give you 
my word that I'll come and give you proof of my survival, if I 
still exist." 

Laughing, and in the same jesting way, I answered: 

"Then you'll come and manifest yourself by breaking some- 
thing in this room — for example that gas-fixture above the table. 
(We were at that moment in my dining-room.) And, to be polite, 
I added : "I '11 pledge myself, too, if I die before you, to come 
and give you some sign of the same sort, in your house!" 

I wish to repeat that all this was said jestingly rather than 
seriously. We separated, and some days afterward he left for 
Lieata, in the province of Girgenti, where he went to settle down. 
From that day I had no news of him, either directly or indirectly. 
Tliis conversation took place in May, 1910. 

The following December, the first or the second, toward six 
o'clock in the evening, I was seated at table with my sister (the 
two of us compose the household) when our attention was attracted 
by several slight blows, some of them struck upon the shade of 
the gas-fixture which hung from the ceiling of the dining-room and 
some npon the little movable porcelain bell of the smoke-shield 
above the glass chimney. At first we attributed the tapping to 
the action of the heat of the fiame, which I tried to lessen. But 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 11 

the blows increased in force, and continued with a sort of rhythmic 
noise. I then climbed upon a chair, to examine more carefully 
what was happening, and I ascertained that the phenomenon could 
not be attributed to the heat of the flame, which was burning at 
a very usual rate of pressure. Besides, it was not a question of 
slight popping noises, like those produced as a result of extreme 
heat, but of sharp taps of a special tone, suggesting blows struck 
with the knuckles or with a finger ring with which one might knock 
purposely upon some porcelain object. I sought to discover the 
cause of these strange blows. To no purpose. Meanwhile we fin- 
ished dinner and the phenomenon came to an end. 

The following evening the same tapping was repeated, as it was 
on four or five consecutive days; this continued to excite our in- 
tense curiosity more and more. 

But on the last evening a strong, sharp blow split the little 
swinging beU in two; it remained in this state, hanging by the 
hook of the metal counterbalance. I could verify this by stand- 
ing upon the table to observe closely the effect of the last blow. 
I remember clearly, as does my sister, that even after we had ex- 
tinguished the central light around which the phenomenon was 
taking place and had lighted another branch of the chandelier, the 
blows still continued with equal force. 

I must also declare and affirm upon my honor as an honest man 
that during the course of these five or six days on which was ob- 
served the phenomenon which I could not explain, I never once 
thought of my friend Benjamin Sirchia, and still less of the con- 
versation of the preceding May, which I had entirely forgotten. 

The day following the evening when, as I have said, the little 
porcelain bell split, I was in my study; my sister had gone 
out on the balcony to look at something or other in the street; the 
servant had gone out; when we heard, in the dining-room, a tre- 
mendous hang as though a violent blow with a club had been struck 
upon the table. 

My sister heard it from the balcony, and I from my study : both 
of us hurried to see what had happened. 

It is strange, but however fantastic this occurrence be, I can 
answer for its truth : on the table, and as though it had been placed 



12 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

there by a human hand, we found half of the little movable bell, 
while the other half was still hanging in its place. 

Evidently the violence of the blow was out of proportion to the 
result. This was the last phenomenon; it brought to a climax 
the strange happenings which had been repeated during five or 
six days. It had taken place in broad daylight and without the 
action of heat. 

The half of the porcelain bell could not have fallen to the table 
perpendicularly, for, since it would have had to pass through the 
center of the shade, it would have struck the gas-jet and its glass 
chimney. These must needs have broken beneath the shock, to al- 
low the half -bell of the smoke-shield to pass through freely. But 
the two objects were quite intact and the empty space was not 
wide enough to allow for the passage. If the smoke-shield had 
fallen obliquely upon the porcelain shade, which was rather large, 
it would have been broken, or would have broken the shade. Or, 
granting that it slid without breaking, it must of necessity have 
rebounded to a point far from the center of the table, and not 
fallen in line with the axis of the gas-fixture. 

It follows that the noise was a warning of the accomplished 
phenomenon, and that the fragment of the bell was placed in such 
a way as to point to the conclusion that what had happened was 
not due to an accident — an accident which would, moreover, have 
been contrary to the law of falling bodies. 

I must acknowledge once more that I had absolutely forgotten 
Sirehia and the pact which we had made in the preceding month of 
May. 

Two days afterward I met Professor Rusci; he said to me, "Did 
you know that poor Benjamin Sirehia had died?" — "When?" I 
asked anxiously. — "On one of the last days of November — the twenty- 
seventh or the twenty-eighth." — I then thought: "The last days 
of November? Strange! Could the phenomena which happened at 
my home have some connection with his death?" (The memory 
of our last conversation, with its peculiar details, had come back 
to me.) The phenomena began on the first or second of December 
and continued for five or six days. An attempt to break some- 
thing connected with the gas-fixture of the dining-room had been 
agTeed on between us, in the month of May, and this man'festa- 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 13 

tion did not end until the final carrying out of the agreement. 
A thing equally strange was that when the compact had been car- 
ried out in this way, almost as though to signal its fulfilment, a ter- 
rific blow informed us of the fact! The intentional carrying of 
the little bell to a spot where it could not have fallen of itself, 
in ordinary circumstances, thus eliminating the element of chance, 
completed this strange manifestation. 

Such was my personal experience. 

My sister and I have decided to keep, as a souvenir of this 
unexplained phenomenon, the two fragments of the little bell, 
among those things which are precious and dear to us. 

ViCENZO Caltagirone. 

Sucli is the witness's story. 

It seems to me logical to draw from his experience the 
natural conclusion, as we do in the case of an experiment in 
chemistry or physics, and to state that it proves the following : 
(1) This friend still existed four, five, six, seven, eight days 
after his death; (2) he had retained his consciousness, his 
individuality; (3) he remembered his promise; (4) he was 
able to fulfil it. 

Assuredly, we do not know in what form one may exist after 
this life, with what faculties our ultimate psychic atoms may 
be endowed, and how it is possible for them to function mate- 
rially, mechanically, as in this characteristic example. But 
the facts are before us. There can be no evasion. To explain 
them is impossible in the present state of our knowledge, but 
the impossibility of explanation does not lessen their value 
in the least. We are, with regard to the study of the psychic 
world, at the point where Newton was when he was seeking to 
explain the plan of the physical world, and we may apply 
here his own method of reasoning. He wrote : 

Things behave as if bodies attracted each other in direct propor- 
tion to the product of their masses and in inverse proportion to 
the square of their distance apart. How, I do not know." 



14 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Let us say, with him: Things 'behave as if the dead man 
were acting. 

Any criticism of the logic of this argument would seem to 
me of small validity. The old hypothesis of chance coinci- 
dences is really no longer tenable. The most thin-spun rea- 
soning leads to nothing. We must either deny the experience 
or admit that it is inexplicable. 

I repeat with Newton: Things behaved as if Dr. Caltagi- 
rone's friend had kept his promise. That is the true scientific 
method — not blind, persistent, and systematic denial. 

Once again let me state that we do not know how a soul 
can strike a chandelier, break the little bell of a smoke-shield, 
and strike a blow, like that of a club, ^ upon a table. These 
instances exist by hundreds. Those that we have had before 
our eyes in the first two volumes of this work induce us to 
think that electrical force comes into play ; but the hypothesis 
leads nowhere, since no one knows what electricity is. More- 
over, there are, in nature, unsuspected forces. They may play 
a preponderant part in these phenomena. It is these forces 
that we must discover, instead of following the method of 
certain contemporary savants, who contend that science has 
a right to explain observed facts only by forces that have al- 
ready been investigated, without admitting those that are un- 
known. 

I have received a large number of different accounts, from 
all countries of the world, in all languages, from people of all 
social classes and of all ages — from that of the most ingenuous 
and ignorant childhood to years of full power, enlightened 
by experience and rigid psychological analysis. So numerous 
are they that it is absolutely impossible for me to doubt man- 
ifestations on the part of the dead, under certain conditions, 
and their survival after death, at least for a certain time. 

1 Is light a body ? It acts materially upon Crookes's radiometer, 
making it turn. It acts upon a photographic plate, decomposing the 
salts. It may produce a chemical explosion; and so on. 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 15 

To keep a promise in order to prove to a friend that one 
still exists after one's last breath, is, plainly, a definite enough 
indication. What more could we ask? 

The blows, the mechanical movements, the physical phenom- 
ena are manifestations of a force emanating from the spirit. 
We have seen a very great number of examples of them in 
Volume II — manifestations of a psychic force. 

This term "psychic force,'' which I had brought into vogue 
in 1865 through the publication of my first short work, ''Les 
Forces naturelles inconnues" ("Unknown Natural Forces''), 
was discussed, and even made fun of a little, by certain writers 
who were particularly conventional, methodical in their habit 
of thought, and ultra-prudent. A philosopher, — justly es- 
teemed, moreover, for certain works on the history of astron- 
omy, — Monsieur Th.-Henri Martin, dean of the Rennes fac- 
ulty of letters, and a member of the Institute, — wrote, among 
others : 

It does not seem necessary to me to discuss seriously the existence 
of the unknown natural forces which Monsieur Flammarion calls 
psychic — forces which are supposed to bring about intelligent move- 
ments on the part of tables, and the other prodigies attributed to 
mediums.^ 

The celebrated Rennes professor does not admit the exist- 
ence of these unknown forces. After a long dissertation on 
the experiments of Agenor de Gasparin, Thury, and other ob- 
servers, — experiments he did not understand in the least, — 
and only as a last resort siding with R. P. Matignon and the 
partizans of the intervention of the devil, he writes : " I see 
strong probabilities which might lead one to attribute these 
marvels in part to illusion and in part to deception."- In 

1 Th.-Henri Martin: Les sciences et la philosophie (Paris, 1869), 
p. 438. 

2 Idem, p. 472. 



16 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

other words : nothing. Such were our authoritative predeces- 
sors in this sort of research. 

The occurrence of which we have just read is characteristic. 
To attribute it to unknown human faculties or to chance 
would seem to me extremely rash. Assuredly, one would have 
liked to see the cause of these purposeful blows. Does one 
see phantoms? Yes, sometimes. Here is an example, precise 
and definite. The letter given below was sent me from Lyons 
on April 25, 1921. 

Dear Master: 

Allow me to state, first, that in my youth (long ago) I used to 
laugh heartily when, by chance, those about me spoke of manifes- 
tations from the "beyond": I had the skepticism of — let us say 
the word — imbecility. 

My youth passed, maturity came, and if, among the people with 
whom I found myself, these questions were brought up, I no longer 
laughed, but I believed no more than before. There was some prog- 
ress. Well, this is what happened to me personally: 

One autumn night (the temperature was already low) I was 
seated near the fireplace where some logs were burning. Before 
me was my wife, in an arm-chair; her back was turned to a win- 
dow opening on the passageway leading to the rooms on the first 
floor of my house. I was not dreaming I assure you, for I had 
just run through a treatise on "Electric Transformers" which 
hardly lent itself to revery. I was, therefore, far from thinking 
of phenomena of the other world, when my dog, a Pomeranian, ly- 
ing before the hearthstone, jumped up and began to howl, looking 
toward the window, then came to lie down, still growling, near 
my chair. 

I looked toward the window quickly, and behind it I saw, sil- 
houetted, a shade. Its contours were delicate; it might have been 
drawn in soft pencil by Henner. It went toward the door giving 
into my room. I could not restrain an exclamation. The shade — 
the light from a fairly distant gas-jet shone through it feebly — came 
forward slowly. Its manner of walking showed a slight limp, and 
in spite of myself I cried, "Why, it^s Father!" 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 17 

There were both the bodily contour and the gait of my wife's 
father, who had died two years before. It was indeed he. I got up 
hurriedly, threw myself toward the door, opened it abruptly and — 
nothing ! 

This could not have been an hallucination. The book which I 
had just run through and which I still held in my hand did not 
lend itself to that. Besides, my wife had turned around sharply 
at my cry, and like me, had perceived this shade, dear to her 
memory. 

When I had entered my room again, my dog had taken refuge 
under the bed and continued to growl. 

Since then I have seen nothing more. 

Please accept, dear Master, my admiring homage. 

Ballet- Gallifet, 
12 montee du Greillon, Lyons. 

(Letter 4462.) 

Not all the letters I have received have the value of this 
last one. The observer is scientifically inclined. His sponta- 
neous experience v^as duplicated by that of his v^ife, and — 
this is not negligible — by the dog's excitement. All this is 
hardly commonplace. 

According to my rule, I wished to make an independent 
investigation of the incident. Among the persons in Lyons 
with whom I am in touch, one seemed to me particularly well 
fitted, by reason of her work and her ability, to assist me in 
the research : Madame Rougier, my esteemed colleague of the 
Astronomical Society of France, and of the Metaphysical 
Institute. I wrote to her, without giving her any details on 
the subject, to be so good as to go, on some pretext or other, 
and pay a visit to the author of the preceding communication. 
I told her to bring the conversation round to the subject of 
apparitions, and to listen attentively to the personal account 
which he might give of his experience. 

I select the following passages from the answer Madame 
Rougier so kindly sent : 



18 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

The letter you did me the honor of sending me arrived this 
morning (May 2d). I am beginning this reply at five minutes to 
six, and take pleasure in informing you that my husband and I have 
just returned from paying a call on Monsieur Ballet-Gallifet. That 
gentleman received us graciously, and it was not long before he 
referred to the astounding apparition which he and Madame Ballet- 
Gallifet saw — the apparition of that lady's father. This is the story 
he told us: 

"At nine o'clock in the evening my wife and I were at home, 
when suddenly my dog gave tongue on seeing some one enter. It 
was a man, coming forward slowly. I was struck with astonish- 
ment when I recognized my father-in-law, for not only was this 
person really he, but he even limped as he did. My father-in-law 
was afflicted with lameness. If I had not noticed at once this de- 
tail, which made me recognize him from afar, I should have taken up 
a weapon, thinking him a thief. My wife was also a witness of 
the ^apparition.' " 

It was your last two books which made Monsieur B.-G. tell of this 
occurrence which happened fifteen years ago ! He is an intellectual, 
keenly interested in all that has to do with progress, either in 
science or in art; he seemed to us worthy of being trusted in every 
respect. Later we shall go and call on his wife, who was not able 
to appear, because of the short time my husband had at his dis- 
posal, but I caught sight of her, though I did not hear her speak. 

T. ROUGIER. 

(Letter 4470.) 

I am now able to state that on May 20th I made a second call. 
Madame B.-G. whom I had not been able to see the first time, con- 
firmed all the facts related by her husband, and seemed keenly in- 
terested in the investigation for which you are insisting on precision 
in observation. I must add that Monsieur B.-G. also said to us, 
"The phantom glided rather than walked." 

T. ROUGIER. 

(Letter 4514.) 

Another letter from Monsieur Ballet-Gallifet gave me the 
date of his f atber-in-law 's death: March 19, 1904. The oc- 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 19 

currenee described took place in the course of the autumn of 
1906. With the additional letter (Number 4484) was a map, 
which it seems to me superfluous to reproduce. 

Judging from the proofs, the apparition cannot be doubted. 
As we have remarked, its reality is confirmed by the dog's 
perception of it. To assume in this instance a triple halluci- 
nation would be equivalent to denying the reality of all we 
see before us at every hour of the day. 

I am putting this case before my readers directly after the 
preceding one because of their dissimilarity. It might be ob- 
jected that the first was coincidence; this objection would 
not apply to the latter. It is another sort of attestation. 
What can we suppose in this instance ? An hallucination on 
the part of the narrator, hi& wife, and the dog? What do 
you think? 

The variety of these manifestations of the dead would lead 
us to believe in their reality. Here is a third, altogether dif- 
ferent. A manifestation as difficult to question as the two 
preceding ones will be found in the interesting letter which 
follows. This communication was addressed to me from 
Ruelle (Charente) on June 9, 1921. I am selecting the es- 
sential passages: 

The facts you reveal and discuss are, to me, unquestionably true. 
You have quoted ^ a letter which I wrote you more than twenty 
years ago after reading "L'Inconnu.'' All that I have said is abso- 
lutely authentic, but it was not that blow and that movement of a 
curtain coinciding with a death which convinced me that all is not 
over after death; it was the experience which I shall relate. 

I shall tell you upon what my conviction rests; it is not a thing 
of to-day, for it is a childhood recollection, but it has remained en- 
graved upon my memory, and I see, in thought, the spot where the 
occurrence took place as though it were yesterday. 

It, too, happened in Isere, in Saint-Gervais, where in former days 
there was a cannon foundrj^ for the navy. We were living in a 

1 At the Moment of Death, p. 254. 



20 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

dwelling provided by the State. My father was a fervent believer 
in spiritualism; as for me, I was very young and paid no attention 
to it — all the more so because my father was exceptional in giving 
himself up to this investigation. 

In Rochefort-sur-Mer he had a friend named Cognet the news of 
whose death was given him in a letter. 

One evening, after receiving this letter (I do not remember if it 
was the same day or later) we were in bed. The two beds were 
in an alcove, the doors of which were open, but, lying as I was, 
my( back was to the two sections of this folding-door ; I could, there- 
fore, see nothing in the room giving on the alcove. I was not 
asleep. I heard my father speaking in a, low tone in Jiis bed, and 
did not understand the words he was uttering. Suddenly I saw a 
glow which made me utter a cry of terror. My father got up and 
took me into bed with him. The glow persisted; it was a sort of 
phosphorescent cloud, without definite outlines, 

I remember that very well, for I saw it from my fathers bed. 
It ia noteworthy that I had been struck by the glow though my 
back was turned) and no mirror could have reflected anything. My 
father pronounced these words in a loud voice: ^'If you are 
Cognet, strike three blows on the chest of drawers." This piece of 
furniture, marble-topped (it is still in my possession) was in the 
room giving on to the alcove. Three loud and measured blows were 
then struck upon the marble of the chest of drawers. Then, little 
by little, the glow thinned, melted, and I saw nothing more. I do 
not remember that my father asked other questions; probably he 
did, but I have no recollection of them. 

Well, this simple happening of which I have thought all my life 
(I reflected upon it later, when I was able to reason) gave me the 
conviction, the certainty that death does not end all. People have 
often said in my presence, "After death there's nothing more." — 
"Yes," I always answer, "there is something." — "What do you know 
about it?" they ask. I answer: "I saw. 1 saw without wishing 
to see; I heard, shuddering with fear." 

Texier_, 
Ruelle Foundry, Charente. 

(Letter 4528.) 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 21 

Thougli there were only two rather vague witnesses of this 
manifestation, it seems to me that it may be confidently re- 
corded. The recollection of it was precise. My readers are 
familiar with other, similar examples; for instance, a glow 
lighting a room, coinciding with a death (Volume II, page 
120) ; the luminous, phosphorescent spot, synchronizing with 
a comatose condition preceding a father's demise (idem, page 
134) ; the luminous aureole surrounding some one dead (idem, 
page 285) ; an apparition enveloped in a very bright light 
(idem, page 353) ; the lighting up of a room (idem, page 
360). This mysterious glow has been perceived rather often; 
always it came unsought. We are obliged to see in this, as 
in other similar happenings, a manifestation of some one dead 
— some one who, in consequence, still existed, as in the case 
of the chandelier struck by Benjamin Sirchia, who had died 
eight days before, and the case of the apparition of Madame 
Ballet-Gallifet's father. 

A man who, all his life, has preserved vividly in memory 
an unforgetable experience, is a witness we should not neglect. 
These experiences are very varied. Here is a fourth. It is 
another sort of manifestation and substantiates our first two 
cases. Is it possible not to give consideration to the following 
letter, which was sent me from Nantes on March 31, 1921 ? — 
possible to suppose that its author fabricated a fantastic tale 
or had an hallucination? 

My dear Master: 

I am forty-two. I love science too much, I have too much interest 
in all those questions which you are investigating so impartially and 
so scientifically, and finally — and this should be enough — I have too 
much esteem and consideration for the savant that you are, to fabri- 
cate or exaggerate anything whatsoever. 

I was nineteen, and was living in Nantes, where I am at present. 
I frequented a cafe where I spent almost all my evenings; I was 
on very intimate terms with the proprietor. A charwoman used to 



22 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

come into this cafe, to do the heavy work. This woman was not 
married, and was living in a marital relation with a workman from 
Marseilles, whose given name was Marius. She was a native of 
Brittany; Keryado was her family name; but we only called her, 
familiarly, "Mother Marius." She drank a little. These details 
have their own importance. She was, on the whole, a good sort, 
kind-hearted, and she had done for me certain small services. 

Every week I used to leave Nantes on Saturday evening and spend 
Sunday on a farm in the very midst of the country-side. One Sat- 
urday I left as usual — took leave of the proprietor, of my friends, 
and said good-by to this same charwoman, who was in excellent 
health. So, late on Saturday night, I found myself in the country 
as usual, but I must explain that this time, through exceptional 
circumstances, I was to remain there for the whole week. The 
farm-house had two rooms : a kitchen and another room. On Thurs- 
day, at one o'clock in the afternoon, I was talking, in the other 
room, with the young girl of the house. There was no one in the 
kitchen. The doors and windows were closed. We were talking, 
when both of us heard a noise ia the kitchen, as though the fire- 
tongs had fallen on to the hearthstone. Out of precaution, thinking 
that the cat might be getting into the jars of milk, I went to see 
what it was. There was nothing; everything was shut up. Scarcely 
had I come back into the room when there was the same noise. I 
turned. Nothing. Since I had already taken up spiritualism, I 
said to the young girl, laughing, "It 's a spirit, perhaps," — attaching 
no importance to my words, however. I then had the idea of using 
a little round table, with which we had already experimented, and 
we waited, both of us sitting at it, our hands upon it. Almost im- 
mediately we got a communication through rapping, one that was 
according to the usual alphabetic code. "Is this a spirit?" — "Yes." 
—"You lived on earth f'—" Yes."— "You knew mef— "Yes."— 
"What was your name?" — "Keryado." At this odd name (I did not 
remember the charwoman's family name) I was about to leave the 
table, thinking that the reply was pointless, when the young girl 
said to me, "That 's the family name of the charwoman in the cafe." 
— "That 's true," I answered, and then I began a series of questions. 
I was unwilling to believe that she was dead, having left her in 
perfect health only five days before. I asked her for details and 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 23 

learned that she had been taken ill at eight o'clock on Tuesday- 
evening, that she had been carried to her home, and that she had 
died at eleven o'clock, of a hemorrhage. I have already said that 
she drank. (The young girl knew her, but since going to the 
country a month before had had no news of her.) This happened 
on Thursday. On Saturday, when I returned to Nantes, as soon as 
I got out of the train, I went to the cafe, and there, to my stupe- 
faction, they gave me confirmation of this woman's death and of all 
the details she had given me. 

Such was the experience I had. I have since told it more than 
twenty times, when the conversation turned on this general subject. 
Autosuggestion cannot explain it. I had left this woman in per- 
fect health; I had no reason for thinking of her; the girl who was 
at the little table had not seen her for a month, and was not in 
correspondence with her. 

Neberry, 

(Letter 4407.) Nantes. 

The customary investigation which I made, after this com- 
munication, allows no doubt of its authenticity. Unquestion- 
ably, spiritualistic experiments are at least half the time with- 
out intrinsic value and reflect naively the mentality of the 
experimenters, but in this case the manifestation was spon- 
taneous, unexpected, and singularly precise. 

The same correspondent became a spiritualist of unalterable 
conviction, as every observer is convinced of what he has 
seen, as a mason is sure that the walls which lie has built 
were constructed of stones, and a planter is sure that his 
fields have yielded him grain. He told me of another occur- 
rence no less remarkable. It concerns a manifestation on the 
part of a man who committed suicide — one that took place 
some days after his death. Here is the experience: 

My grandparents kept an inn in Bordeaux; sailors were the 
chief patrons of its restaurant. The captain of a vessel sailing the 
high seas was in the habit of stopping at this inn whenever he re- 



24 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

turned from a voyage; he used to spend some days in Bordeaux 
before rejoining his family in Rochefort. 

One day, when he was stopping at the inn, he made the acquaint- 
ance, in the city, of a woman of the streets, who stole his pocket- 
book. Desperate, heartsick at having to go back to his family after 
this misadventure, he hanged himself from the window-fastening of 
his room. The next morning, disturbed at not seeing him come down, 
they went upstairs and the maid found him hanged! The usu'al 
formalities were observed, and his family communicated with. Some 
days afterward my aunt (she told me this story; she is incapable 
of lying; she is now living in Nantes) — my aunt and the maid were 
busy putting the captain's room to rights and were talking of him, 
when suddenly the bedside table was set violently in motion, and the 
curtains of the bed shook. The maid, terrified, fled to the stair- 
way, and my aunt, frightened, went to hide. 

Some time afterward, this same room was occupied by a simple 
sailor. He had not been told the story (in hotels they try rather to 
prevent talk of these happenings). Coming in one night, he lighted 
the candle ; it went out. He lighted it once more ; again it went out. 
Thinking there must be a draft (he himself told this story the next 
day), he went to the window, but it was tightly shut. He lighted 
the candle once more. It went out still another time. Fear gripped 
him; he hesitated as to what he should do. Should he go down- 
stairs and tell people what had happened? But it was late; every 
one was in bed; they would make fun of him, think he had been 
drinking. He lighted the candle again, and this time it did not 
go out. He got into bed, and at once the curtains began to shake. 
The prey of an agitation that may be easily comprehended, he did 
not sleep, and went down early in the morning to tell what had hap- 
pened. Then they told him that in that room a captain had com- 
mitted suicide. 

What conclusion must we draw? In my opinion a spirit, a 
soul — in a word, the captain — manifested itself. What did he 
wish? Doubtless, something difficult to guess. What do we know 
about it? Has it not been remarked that persons who have com- 
mitted suicide have a tendency to return to the scene of their 
suicide? 

G. Neberrt. 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 25 

When I asked for an investigation, the author of this nar- 
ration was good enough to answer : 

Nantes, April 14, 1921. 

I have been to see my aunt, who was a witness of the phenomena 
that occurred after the captain's suicide. It was three or four 
days after the captain's death when, busy making the bed in the 
room in which this man had killed himself, she saw, as did the maid 
in the hotel, the bedside table move of itself and make a rather loud 
noise. 

Here I must remark that, while making the bed, the maid talked 
about the captain; it was at that moment that the phenomenon took 
place. 

And it was five or six days later that the sailor who slept in that 
room was terrified by his candle going out three consecutive times, 
and, once he was lying down, by the curtains of the bed moving 
of themselves. Here is a detail which I had not given you and 
which my aunt told me: this sailor, according to her account, said 
that he perceived in a comer of the room a form, a shade which he 
could not explam. 

I am convinced, dear Master, that if all those persons should 
write to you who have been personal witnesses of the occurrences 
which you are seeking to elucidate, the sum total of their accounts 
would fill libraries. 

G. Neberry. 

(Letter 4435.) 

This fourth contribution to our proofs of phenomena ob- 
served post mortem shows us their variety. The case is 
complex enough. To judge from the information which I 
have been able to obtain, it is unquestionable. Here is an- 
other, still more singular, and rather startling. However, 
we cannot question it, either. I defy the most skepti- 
cal of those who contradict me to explain the following ex- 
perience, unless they are ready to admit a manifestation 
on the part of some one dead. The apparition of which we 



26 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

shall speak came spontaneously, two days after dissolu- 
tion.^ 

A friend of Gurney, the author, with Myers and Podmore, 
of that important work ''Phantasms of the Living," — a cer- 
tain Mr. D (who begged Gurney not to reveal his name), 

was the owner of two factories, one in Glasgow, the other in 
London. He had in his employ a weak and delicate young 
boy named Robert Mackenzie who had left him, ill-advisedly, 
after three years. Some years after his departure the fol- 
lowing occurred: 

One day, in the street, Mr. D remarked a young man 

who was devouring avidly a bit of dry bread. He looked like 
a starving man, on the point of dying of hunger. It was 
Robert Mackenzie. The manufacturer halted, and Listened to 
the words of his former employee — words of deep regret at 
having left a place which had assured him his daily bread. 

Mr. D consented to take him back. Mackenzie expressed 

his gratitude with deepest emotion. From that time on, with- 
out ever making a show of his feelings, he seemed to live 
only for his employer. As soon as he caught sight of him, 
his large, pensive eyes fixed themselves upon him, following 
all his movements. His protector was the guiding star of 
his life. 

The manufacturer went to live in London, where he forgot, 
after a time, his Scotch workmen. On a certain Friday eve- 
ning the workmen gave their annual ball. Robert Mackenzie, 
who did not mingle much with the others, asked permission 
to serve in the refreshment-room. Everything passed off well, 
and the festivities continued into Saturday. 

The following Tuesday, a little before eight o'clock, in his 

house on Campden Hill, Mr. D received a manifestation 

which he sums up as follows: 

1 Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 1885, III, 95. 
Myers, Human Personality (1904), II, 52. 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 27 

I dreamed that I was seated at a desk, engaged in a business con- 
versation with a gentleman whom I do not know, and that Mac- 
kenzie came toward me. Irritated, I asked him rather brusquely if 
he did not see that I was busy. He withdrew with an air of annoy- 
ance, then approached again as though requesting an immediate 
interview. I reproached him, quite harshly, for his lack of tact. 
Meanwhile the man with whom I was talking took his leave and 
Mackenzie came forward. 

"What does all this mean, Robert f' I asked, rather annoyed. 
"Didn't you see I was busy?" 

"Yes, sir," he answered, "but I must speak to you at once." 

"About whaf? What is it that's so urgent f 

"I wish to tell you, sir, that I am accused of something I did not 
do. I want you to know, and to pardon me the thing for which 
people blame me, for I 'm innocent." He then added, "I did n't do 
what they say I 've done." 

"What's that?" I asked. He repeated the same words. I then 
asked him, quite naturally, "But how can I pardon you, if you don't 
tell me what you 're accused of ?" I shall never forget the emphatic 
tone of his answer, in Scotch dialect: "Ye will ken it soon.'' My 
question was repeated at least twice; I am sure that his reply was 
repeated three times, in the most earnest way. I then awakened, 
with a certain uneasiness as a consequence of this strange dream. I 
was asking myself if it had a meaning, when my wife rushed into 
my room, greatly agitated, an open letter in her hand. She cried: 
"Oh, James! something terrible happened at the workmen's ball: 
Robert Mackenzie committed suicide." Understanding then the 
meaning of the vision, I answered calmly and firmly, "No, he did 
not commit suicide." — "How can you know thatf" — "He has just 
told me." 

When he appeared to me I had been struck by the strangeness of 
his appearance. His face was a livid blue, and on his hrow were 
to he seen spots UJce drops of sweat. I did not know what that 
meant. But this is what had happened. When he had gone home 
on Saturday night, Mackenzie had taken a bottle containing nitric 
acid, thinking that it was his bottle of whiskey; he had poured him- 
self out a little glass of it, which he had drunk at one gulp. He 
had died on Sunday, in terrible agony. It was thought that he had 
committed suicide. And this was why he had come to say to me 



28 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

that he was innocent of the accusation against him. Now, it was a 
remarkable thing — I had not had the slightest idea of it before — in 
looking up the symptoms which accompany poisoning hy nitric acid, 
I saw that they were practically those which I had perceived on 
Boberfs face. 

It was soon realized that a mistake had been made in attributing 
his death to suicide. I was informed of this the next day through 
a letter from my representative in Scotland. 

This apparition was due, in my opinion, to the excessive grati- 
tude of Mackenzie, whom I had snatched from a deplorable con- 
dition of want, and to his keen desire to stand well in my estimation. 

Such is the Glasgow manufacturer's story. The fact that 
the workman came, after his so-called suicide, to reveal the 
truth to him — is this not testimony as to survival after death ? 
It is worthy of note that in England suicide is held to be a 
crime. 

The investigation made by the Psychical Society leaves no 
doubt as to the exactitude of the account which I have just 
quoted. Certainly, in this case there was a manifestation of 
some one dead. This can be neither suggestion that remained 
latent for a certain time,^ nor chance, nor anything of the 
sort. 

We have, therefore, four bits of personal testimony as to 
survival, differing absolutely among themselves. To deny 
them, four different hypotheses would be necessary. 

All those who examine this testimony honestly and fully 
realize that none of us has the right to consider himself 
justified in denying it; in regarding the narrators as im- 
postors, or mad, or the victims of hallucinations. We must 

1 The hypothesis of suggestion remaining latent for a certain time 
cannot explain a delay of forty-eight hours. I agree with Myers, the 
originator of the theory, who has made a closer study than I of the 
attendant conditions, that suggestion may remain latent only for a few 
hours. (See Human Personality, II, 13.) We cannot admit, either, 
that there was thought-transmission on the part of the wife, who had 
read the letter, since this letter announced the suicide. 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 29 

acknowledge frankly that there is here a whole order of 
things as yet unknown to scientific investigation. Let us also 
read the following account. It was sent me from Paris, on 
June 14, 1921 ; I was asked to suppress the names. 

My yoimg friend Marguerite , who is now twenty-two, had 

the misfortune to lose, in the same year (1918), her father, her 
mother, and her sister Jeanne, aged sixteen. Jeanne, who had 
always been in perfect health, began to sink soon after her mother's 
death; her lungs became infected, and after having languished for 
five or six months, the poor little thing succumbed in her turn. 

Marguerite and Jeanne, who loved each other very dearly and 
were never separated, slept in the same room. Their grandmother 
had lived with them since the time they became orphans. About 
two months after their mother's death, Marguerite woke up one 
morning about five o'clock, and heard a rustling in the room. She 
opened her eyes and saw a silhouette, clad in black, glide to the foot 
of her bed, draw near her sister's bed, bend over Jeanne, who was 
asleep, and kiss her on the brow. Marguerite sat up, gazed more 
attentively, and said, "Why, it's Mama!" At the same instant 
the shade stood erect and vanished as it had come. The young girl, 
deeply affected, got up noiselessly, that she might not disturb her 
sister, — already ailing at that time, — and ran to her grandmother's 
room. Her gTandmother was sleeping soundly. She awakened her 
and asked, "Meme, was it you who came and kissed Jeanne, in her 
bed?" And she told her what she had just seen, "l^o, dear," her 
grandmother answered; "I didn't stir; you've been dreaming. Go 
back to bed quickly, and sleep two whole hours longer." 

Marguerite went back to her room, trying to persuade herself 
that she had been dreaming. But as she was getting back into bed 
her sister awakened and said to her: "Oh, what a pity that you 
woke me up ! I was so happy ! While I was asleep Mama came 
and kissed me. She was dressed in black, as she 's always been 
since Papa died ; she brushed against the foot of your bed, then she 
came toward me. She bent over, and I felt her kiss me on the fore- 
head." Marguerite then told her of her vision. 

How shall we explam this vision, if it was not the real presence, 



30 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

in her eMldren's room, of this mother, dead for two months, who 
had come back to place a kiss on the brow of her daughter who was 
soon to join her? Was it a physiological, spiritual, or astral pres- 
ence? I do not know, but it was an indubitable presence, percep- 
tible to the eyes of the girl who was awake, and to the sensibilities 
of her who was asleep. 

Marguerite still had tears in her eyes when she gave me the de- 
tails of this scene. She is a healthy, robust young girl, very alert, 
straightforward, and spontaneous, highly intellectual, and not in the 
least predisposed to morbid imaginings. 

Madame Corneille. 

(Letters 4542 and 4575.) 

My correspondence with the narrator showed me that the 
foregoing account was well founded. 

Always to put forward hallucinations as an explanation 
of these phenomena is no longer in accord with our actual 
observation. There were in this case two absolutely inde- 
pendent witnesses, since one of the two sisters was awake 
and the other asleep. Just as, in the preceding case, young 
Mackenzie manifested himself beyond a doubt, so the actual- 
ity of the apparition of the two young girls' mother must 
be admitted with the same conviction. Let us remember 
that time and space are not what they seem to us. The 
mother of these two young girls may have manifested herself 
without really having been there. 

The hypothesis of hallucination is, certainly, no more ten- 
able in the following case : a child of twelve seeing his dead 
father and dying in his turn. 

Tommy Brown was a poor boy, twelve years old, belonging to a 
numerous and destitute family. His health was shattered; he was 
stretched on a hospital bed. His father had died, two years before, 
in a bed near this one. 

On a certain night he said to his mother, "Mamma, there 's 
Father." 

'^o, dear/' his mother answered ; "there 's no one there." 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 31 

"Yes there is! Why, don't you see him near the bed? Speak to 
him." 

She saw nothing, and the nurse saw nothing. 

"What's your papa doing f' the mother asked, at length. 

"He 's looking at you." And, a moment afterward : ''He 's 
looking at me, and beckoning me to follow him, so he can take me 
away with him." 

While speaking to those near her, the mother remarked that the 
little boy's father had been dead for two years. The child heard 
this and said: 

"No, he 's not dead, since he 's there and beckoning to me with 
his hand. He 's calling me ; he 's calling me." 

Talking in this way, the child lost consciousness. He died some 
days later.i 

Mrs. Chambers, 
Volunteer nurse. 

A child's ingenuous testimony is as valid as the testimony 
of a man. 

In the following pages rather a large number of analogous 
occurrences will pass before our eyes. The souls of the dead 
exist, see, hear, manifest themselves. The chapters about to 
be read will offer abundant proof of this. 

These attested cases do away with a frequent cause for 
sadness. The methods of present-day science can establish 
their truth, but cannot as yet explain them. If photography 
had not been invented, we should not know that light can 
stamp upon a plate images which remain latent, invisible, 
until a chemical poured upon the plate causes them to ap- 
pear. It may be that the influence of the dead upon our 
brains gives rise to images, to phantoms, only under certain 
physical and psychic conditions. 

Despite their relative infrequency, manifestations of the 
dead are, as a matter of fact, numerous and varied. There 
are all sorts of them. Here is an eighth example, a partic- 

'i- Light, 1915, p. 502; Luce e Omhra, 1919; Annales psychiques, 1919. 



32 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

ularly odd apparition described in Myers. 's work ''Human 
Personality" (Volume II, page 27).^ It was told, first hand, 
to Professors Royce and Hodgson. 

The narrator stated that his sister, a young woman of eighteen, 
had died suddenly of cholera, in Saint Louis, in 1867. On a trip 
to the United States in 1876 — -that is to say, nine years afterward 
— he was busy in his room one day, toward noon, writing orders, 
and was smoking an excellent cigar, when he thought he saw some 
one sitting at his left, with one arm on the table. At once he 
turned in that direction and saw his sister. Instantly he had a 
feeling of happiness, for he had been devoted to her and had in- 
finitely regretted her loss. But she vanished at once. He asked 
himself if he had been dreaming; but his cigar in his mouth, his 
pen in his hand, the ink still wet upon the paper proved to him 
that, undoubtedly, he was wide awake. To him she had appeared 
absolutely alive; her eyes had gazed at him with great calmness. 

This vision had impressed him so intensely that he took the train 
at once, that he might go and tell his family of it. His father made 
fun of him, calling him the dupe of an hallucination, and people 
listened to him only with incredulity and skepticism. But in 
describing the vision as it had appeared to him, he mentioned a 
scratch on the right side of the face, which had appeared to him 
fresh and recent. His mother was so struck with this detail that 
she fell in a faint. When she regained consciousness, she declared 
that she herself had made the scratch on her daughter when she was 
arranging her burial robes; that afterward she had hidden it by 
covering it with powder, and that no one in the world could know of 
it. Her son's vision, therefore, proved to her incontestably the au- 
thenticity of the apparition, and she saw in it, at the same time, 
an announcement of her early death, which came, indeed, two weeks 
later. 

The narrator adds that the impression made on him by the 
sudden apparition of his sister, seemingly so absolutely alive, 

1 See, also, Proceedings of the 8. P. R., VI, 17, and Annates psy- 
cMques, 1909, p. 325. 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 33 

was stronger than that made by all the other happenings oi 
his life put together. The clear sunshine which lighted up 
his room, his contentment with life, the fact that his business 
was doing well, that a cigar was in his hand, that his state 
of mind was alert — everything proved to him that the hy- 
pothesis of an hallucination was inadmissible. 

This, too, is my conviction. All would seem to point to 
its being well founded, despite possible objections. For ex- 
ample, Mr. Podmore, who does not admit the reality of 
apparitions, and thinks that he can explain them as thought- 
transmission, elects to believe that precisely at the moment 
of this manifestation the dead girl's mother thought of her 
daughter, of the scratch, and that her idea was transmitted, 
afar, to her son. This hypothesis involves, really, too many 
suppositions for it to be acceptable. Why should she have 
thought of all this precisely nine years afterward? And 
why should the idea have reached her son, on a business 
trip? We think, also, of the possibility of a sudden optical 
illusion on the part of the dead girl's brother. But (1) he 
was not thinking of her; (2) he did not know that the scratch 
existed. Is it not simpler to admit the reality of the appari- 
tion? 

We have just said that manifestations of the dead are as 
varied as they are numerous, and that there are all kinds of 
them. Here is still another one, particularly remarkable. 

It is usually difficult to separate the testimony for survival 
after death from psychological factors in the minds of the 
living, and to be certain that some one dead is the undeniable 
cause of manifestations. The case which we shall now ex- 
amine seems to me to fall into this category. It was revealed 
through the valued work of the Nancy Society for Psychical 
Investigation. 

Monsieur P. Bossan, accountant of the telegraph company 
in Grenoble, wrote me on July 28, 1920 : 



34 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

In the pages which I shall put before your eyes, I declare that 
all is scrupulously veracious. I am the surviving husband of 
Augustine Chabert, and I authorize you to make what use you wish 
of these documents, in view of the service you are doing humanity. 
I am giving you all the proper names, only some of which were 
published in the "Nancy Bulletin." 

Here is, first, an extract from the official report of the first 
spiritualistic seance, which took place on January 29, 1913. The 
witnesses speaking are natives of Nancy; their depositions were 
summed up by the secretary in these words: 

"The table made a few movements, after which the name Albert 
Revol was dictated. We asked this 'entity' if it could prove its 
identity. By spirit rapping we were told that Revol had been dead 
for two years; that he had died at the age of fifty-four; that he 
had lived in Pontcharra (Isere) in the Grande-Rue; had followed 
the trade of tailor; was married and the father of three children. 
One of them, Eugene, aged twenty, was in the same trade in which 
he had been. 

"These details," the secretary added, "interested us all the more 
from the fact that none of us was familiar with the Province of 
Dauphine. Only one of the participants had crossed the Depart- 
ment of I'Isere by rail at a time long past, but suspected no more 
than any of the other persons present the existence of Pontcharra, 
and still less that of the Revol family. 

" *I died suddenly/ the mysterious, unknown being continued, 'and 
I am still uneasy!' We insisted on details. He added: 'I have 
two daughters, Helene and Henriette. I was not buried there. My 
earthly remains lie in Grignon. It was my native place.' 

"We knew only one Grignon, in Seine-et-Oise. We remarked to 
Revol that this place is very far from Pontcharra. 

" 'No, it 's very near. I still have my mother. She is living near 
us, in Grignon.' 

"This seemed to us unlikely. If the mother of the spirit Revol 
were living near her son, it could not be at Grignon. We asked 
Revol to whom we could address ourselves in order to verify these 
assertions. He answered: 'Write to Madame Goudon.' Then: 
^No, I'm afraid of falsehood; write to the parish priest instead; he 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 35 

"knows me; you must not tell him why you are writing, or speak of 
spirits. Speak of the family.' 

"I wrote to the town clerk in Ponteharra, asking him for the 
death certificate of this Revol. I requested him to tell me of what 
illness he had died ; what his profession was ; if he had left children ; 
their names and ages. I received the following death certificate: 

"Commune or Pontcharea 
"Registry Office of Births, Marriages and Deaths. 
"Death Certificate. 
"Upon the register of births, marriages, and deaths of the parish of Pont- 
eharra, canton of Goncelin, Department of the Isere, it is recorded that Revol 
(Frangois-Antoine-Albin), son of the deceased Frangois and Gaillard (Adele), 
a widower by his first marriage with Billaz (Elisa- Josephine), the husband, by 
his second marriage, of Goudon (Philomene-Leontine), died in this commune on 
March sixth, nineteen hundred and eleven, and that his death was recorded 
that same day in the town haU of the said commune, number 75. 
"Ponteharra, February 4, 1913. 

"The Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths: 
"Fautier." 

^^Thus, Revol had really lived, and had been dead for two years. 
He had married a Mademoiselle Goudon. The existence of Madame 
Goudon was confirmed; her name had been mentioned as that of 
some one able to give information. 

"The certificate was accompanied by a letter from which the fol- 
lowing has been taken : 

"Ponteharra, February 4, 1913. 
"Department of the Isere 
"District of Grenolle 
"Ponteharra Town HaU 
"I found no Revol (Albert), but only Revol (Fran§ois-AntDine-Albin), who died 
suddenly in Ponteharra on March 6, 1911. 

"This Revol was a merchant tailor, and he left three children born of a former 
marriage. These children are : 
"(1) Revol (Eugene Isidore) 
"(2) Revol (Marie-Helene-Lucie-Blanche) 
"(3) Revol (Henriette-Marie-Philomene) 

"Monsieur Revol died, as I told you, suddenly, — of an embolia of the heart, 
I believe, — without having had any illness. 

"(Signed) FAUTIER." 

"It appears from this letter that Revol had really been a merchant 
tailor, and that he had three children whose sex and Christian 
names had been given with precision. There is a difference in 
Revol's Christian name: Albin instead of Albert.. I must remark 
that this given name had been dictated by means of the table, and 



36 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

a,ll those who have experimented by this method know that people 
have an annoying habit of wishing to end a word before the dicta- 
tion has been completed, in order to save time. 

"I wrote once more to the town clerk in Pontcharra, asking him 
to tell me at what age Revol had died and what street he had lived 
in; I also asked him to clear up a point as to which we were in- 
tensely curious: the spot where Revol had been buried. For in 
spite of my investigation I had been, able to discover no parish with 
the name of Grignon other than the one in Seine-et-Oise.^ I re- 
ceived the following answer: 

"Pontcharra, February 19, 1913. 
"My dear Sir: 

"In reply to j'our letter of the sixteenth of this month, I wish to inform you. 
that Monsieur Revol died at the age of fifty-four. While alive, he lived in our 
city, in the Grande-Rue, and he was buried in the cemetery of Grignon parish, 
in the commune of Pontcharra. 

"While on this subject, I must teU you that our commune is divided into two 
parishes, each of which has its cemetery. 

"(Signed) Fauteee." 

"The mystery of Grignon was thus cleared up. Revol had been 
absolutely right in telling us that he had been buried in Grignon, 
the name of one of the parishes of . Pontcharra. This letter also 
confirms the age which he had given us as his own age, at his death, 
and the fact that he dwelt in the Grande-Rue. 

"My investigation established the truth of all information given 
by ^the spirit Revol' to make known its identity." 

Such is the account of the zealous secretary of the Nancy Society. 

At another seance, on the fifth of the following March, the com- 
munication given below was revealed by a writing medium and not 
by rapping: 

" *I am a friend of Revol. I lived two centuries ago. I grew to 
know him in the Beyond, for I came from the same region. Chabert 
is my name.' 

" 'Have you any descendants?' 

" Yes, they live in Grenoble. They are my grandnephews. I 
watched over my grandniece closely. I protected her, but she died, 
and I can tell you where her grave is.' 

II myself know of another one, Grignon near Montbard (Cote-d'Or), 
where I inaugurated the observatory of Dom Damey, in 1890. C. F. 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 37 



" 'What was her name V 

" ^She was named Marie-Augustine Chabert/ 



Was she married? Is her husband still living? If he is, what 
is his name? What is his profession?' 

" Taul Bossan. He is a clerk in the Grenoble post office/ 

" 'How long has your niece been dead f 

" Tor about three years. I have n't yet a precise idea of time. 
She lived in the Nouveau Jardin School, a boarding-school.' 

" 'How old was she when she died ?' 

" 'Forty-three, I believe.' 

" 'What did she die of?' 

" 'She suffered for a long time ; I see, principally, her diseased 
stomach.' 

" 'Had she any brothers and sisters ?' 

" 'Yes, but I don't see them ; I go, chiefly, to her grave.' 

"'What sort of grave is it?' 

" 'A very simple stone, standing upright. It bears the inscrip- 
tion : Marie-Augustine Chabert, wife of Bossan, died in her forty- 
third year.' 

" 'Was she buried in Grenoble V 

" 'No, in Chatte.' 

"This name, as that of a commune, seemed strange to us. We 
persisted: 'Aren't you making a mistake? Is it possible that 
there is a district called Chatte?' 

'• 'Yes, her grave is there.' 

"We asked the spirit to make an effort and to tell us about 
Augustine Chabert's brothers and sisters. He said that he found 
difficulty in doing this. At length he added: 

" 'There is Elie. He is in Lans. There is also Isabelle ; she is 
not married; she is a teacher in a district.' 

"'Which one?' 

" 'I can't tell ; it 's a compound word. There is Monsieur Naud ; 
he is a relative. There is Eugenie-Henri Chabert; there is also a 
canon; they are people who are very well off. You must all think 
of Augustine, to hasten her liberation. You must tell the superin- 
tendent of the cemetery to put flowers on her grave, for she loved 
them dearly.' 



38 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

^'We asked further questions as to his identity, but the spirit 
Chabert said to us : You don't need all that in order to put flowers 
on her grave.' And he left us. 

"After this unexpected eommunieation, we consulted a gazetteer, 
that we might find out if the commune of Chatte existed and if there 
were a Lans in the Isere. All was confirmed. The Grenoble Town 
Hall sent the following quotation from Madame Bossan's death cer- 
tificate : 

"Upon the register of births, marriages, and deaths of the city of Grenoble, 
it appears that Marie-Augustine Chabert, married to Joseph-Eugene-Paul Bossan, 
died in Grenoble on July 7, 1911. 

"Grenoble, March 26, 1913. 

"We had, therefore, through this document, confirmation of the 
fact that Augustine Bossan had really existed; that she had been 
married to Monsieur Paul Bossan and that she died at the address 
given. The location of the tomb was not revealed, nor how long 
it had been there." 

The judicious, conscientious secretary of the Nancy Society 
thought that he could easily obtain the additional information by 
writing to the town hall in Chatte. He wrote, therefore, to the 
town clerk, asking him to be so good as to send Augustine Bossan's 
death certificate, details as to her family, her grave, etc. Here is 
a quotation from the reply he received: 

"Chatte, April 15, 1913. 
"Monsieur Thomas, 
"Secretary of the Nancy Society for Physical Investigation : 

"... Enclosed is Madame Bossan's marriage certificate; it takes the place 
of a birth certificate, since it contains all the information to be found in the 
latter. 

"Madame Bossan's grave: The tombstone is upright upon a vault. It faces 
the south, and stands beside the path in the middle of the cemetery. The inscrip- 
tion reads: 'Madame Paul Bossan, nee Chabert, headmistress of the boarding 
school of Jardinde-Ville, in Grenoble, 1867-1911.' 

"Madame Bossan died in Grenoble, in July, 1911, and was buried in Chatte, 
at that same time. 

"She was born in Lans, a commune of the canton of Villard-de-Lans (Isere). 
She had, in fact, two brothers: one, Helie, who is now a landowner in Lans, 
and the other Amedee, who was a road-surveyor in Voiron. 

"She had three sisters: one, Isabelle, who was first a lay teacher, then a nun 
in the convent of the Ursulines, in TuUins (Isere), and is now a lay teacher 
in La Buisse, near Voiron (Isere). 

"Another: Sophie, the wife of Naud, a landowner in Beaulieu (Isere). And 
finallv, a third, Eugenie, married to Henri Chabert, her first cousin. 

I'The Town Clerk: 

"Deevont." 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 39 

"Marriage Certificate 

"On August 19, 1891, were married in our commune Monsieur Joseph Eugene- 
Paul Bossan, born in the commune of Chatte on September 23, 1865, son of, 
etc. . . . and Mademoiselle Marie Augustine Chabert, born in the commune of 
Lans, on December 10, 1867, daughter of, etc. ... 

"Saint-Marcellin, April 15, 1913. 

"The Mayor: Nacrairb." 

"These statements confirm the information given by the spirit 
Chabert, almost in its entirety. His niece, Augustine Chabert, was 
indeed married to Monsieur Paul Bossan, post-office clerk. She had 
died when head-mistress of the boarding-school of the Jardin de 
Ville-de- Grenoble, and was buried in Chatte. The upright stone 
bears an inscription differing in its wording from that given by 
the spirit Chabert. This is not surprising, since the spirit had 
warned us that he could not be exact. 

"According to the writing on the tombstone and the marriage 
certificate, Augustine Chabert died at the age of forty-four, or, 
to be more exact, at the age of forty-three and a half, since she 
was born on December 10, 1867, and died on July 7, 1911. The 
spirit Chabert had said she was forty-three. 

"We learn, too, that Augustine really had a brother named Helie, 
who was living in Lans; a sister Isabelle, unmarried, and a teacher 
in La Buisse, a compound word which Chabert had not been able 
to give; another sister married to a Monsieur Naud, who was, as 
a matter of fact, a relative, since he had married a sister of Au- 
gustine. While giving the names, the spirit Chabert had added: 
^There is also Eugenie-Henri Chabert J We find the explanation of 
this bit of information in the letter from the town clerk, stating 
that the third sister, Eugenie, had married her cousin, Henri Cha- 
bert. 

"All the details given by the spirit Chabert were thus confirmed. 

"We had only to find out, then, what disease Augustine had died 
of, and if she had a relative who was a canon. 

"This information was fully and exactly given." 

The upshot of these revelations was to put the Nancy 
Psychical Society in touch with Monsieur Paul Bossan. 

As my readers already know, Augustine Chabert ^s sur- 
viving husband wrote me himself, especially to call my at- 



40 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

tention to these odd happenings. Since, by the positive 
method, we must always seek in the minds of the living 
what might be attributed to those minds, I made the remark 
that the president of the Nancy Psychical Society, Colonel 
Collet, was a native of the Province of Dauphine, and knew 
the region. I was told that he had not been present at these 
two seances, which took place at the home of a native of 
Nancy, with a special group. Nevertheless I wished for more 
precise information, and I asked Monsieur Bossan, in Gre- 
noble, for further information. His reply, of August 2, 
1920, follows: 

Colonel Collet did not know my family nor my wife's family 
at all. 

During his very short annual visits to Madame Vacher (Grenoble) 
he never met my jDOor dead wife at the latter's home. 

Monsieur Leon Vacher will, if necessary, corroborate this state- 
ment. He is the son of Madame Vacher (who died about fifteen 
days ago). He lives at number 32, avenue Felix- Viallet, in Grenoble. 
And it will be corroborated as unreservedly by Madame Collet, 
who survives her husband (8 rue Sergeant-Bobillot, in Nancy). 

As may be readily understood, all this information gave 
me a feeling of complete certainty. 

A letter dated July 28, 1920, ended as follows: ''On June 
20, 1898, at 10 :50, I had the honor of greeting the author of 
'Stella' at the little window of the telegraph office in Grenoble, 
and of shaking hands with him." My correspondent is, 
therefore, not a total stranger to me. At this date, 1898, 
already far in the past, the events which have just been 
related were still dormant in the unknown future. 

But what is time ? 

And this Chabert, dead for two hundred years, Madame 
Bossan 's great-great-uncle, who made the acquaintance, in 
the other world, of his compatriot of the nineteenth century, 
Revol, who came to tell experimenters in Nancy that his 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 41 

grandniece was buried in the Province of Dauphine in a 
commune unknown to those who were present, as was the 
commune first mentioned : Grignon, in the Isere ! 

Can telepathic transmission from the living to the living 
explain all that? 

Monsieur Bossan concludes, from this long discussion: 

(1) That two entities, Revel and Chabert, grew to know each 
other in the Beyond. 

(2) That the entity Chabert was interested in his great-great- 
niece, while she was alive (my poor dead wife) and that he is still 
protecting her, 

(3) That this entity described exactly the location of the grave- 
stone, and spoke with accuracy of the husband, children, brothers, 
sisters, and uncle of my dear wife. 

The accuracy is, in general, so striking that, on the advice of 
friends, who are also your readers, I think I should inform you 
of this disturbing and extraordinary communication from the Be- 
yond, beheving that it will command your attention. 

Paul Bossan^ 
Grenoble. 

How can we refuse to ponder with especial care my esti- 
mable correspondent 's conclusions ? 

It is altogether natural that we should seek to explain 
phenomena by means of human faculties, known or unknown. 
This is, in fact, what a contemporary author, Monsieur Paul 
Jagot, desirous of solving psychic problems, has had in mind 
in a recent work of scientific analysis. ^ He even reaches a 
definite conclusion in the matter, for we may read on page 
221: ''In these occurrences I see absolutely nothing which 
could not be explained by the functioning of the medium's 
own psychic faculties." He gives in this connection remark- 
able examples of seeing into the past, of instantaneous mathe- 

1 Methode soientifique moderne de magnetisme, hypnotisme, sugges- 
tion (Paris, 1920). 



42 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

matical calculations, of thought-reading. Well, I admit that 
I do not at all see how the Nancy medium could have divined 
the existence of those who had died, unless we formulate a 
random hypothesis bolder than the spiritualistic interpreta- 
tion. It seems to me, moreover, that theories which exclude 
all but a given number of facts are applicable but rarely to 
these transcendental investigations. 

On the contrary, occurrences of the sort which we have 
just given in detail, as well as the eight examples put before 
the eyes of readers as the brief, initial inquiry of this volume, 
would lead us to grant the reality of survival after death 
and to think, also, that the life beyond the grave is a con- 
tinuation of this life. We may, it is true, suppose that minds 
other than ours exist, minds which know these things; but 
this would be a much more complex hypothesis. 

In meditating upon the state of the soul after death, we 
regret at times that, whatever this state be, it is our destiny 
no longer to possess the organs which allow us to enjoy life : 
the eyes with which we gaze upon the splendors of nature, 
glorious sunsets, sublime starry nights, woods, mountains, 
valleys, brooks, rivers, seas; the sense of smell which allows 
us to perceive the fragrance of growing things on sweet 
summer evenings, the cut grass, the mown hay ; ears charmed 
by the twittering birds, by the thousand sounds of living 
nature. We know that we shall no longer have a retina, 
nor auditory nor olfactory nerves. We dread the loss of 
all these organs of perception, and ask ourselves what an 
immaterial spirit can feel. 

When, on a beautiful summer day, we have followed the 
coffin of a dearly loved friend to the cemetery and seen it 
lowered into the grave, and when, returning to every-day 
life, we gaze at the country-side lighted by the glad radiance 
of a splendid sun, we reflect that this friend is under the 
earth, in the tomb, that his eyes are closed forever and will 
no longer see this grateful, tender light. This stretch of 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 43 

country, these trees, these prairies, these fields, these villages, 
are bathed in radiant beams which no longer exist for him. 
But a few days before, his eyes were enchanted. To-day, all 
is over. As a matter of fact, this impression is erroneous. 
The soul sees, hears, thinks, remains in touch with this ter- 
restrial world. Psychic phenomena have shown us, in Vol- 
umes I and II of this work, that vision without eyes, hy the 
spirit y exists even during terrestrial, material life; that will 
power functions without words; that telepathic transmission 
of thought is indubitable. Those phenomena which we have 
presented from the beginning of Volume III show us, besides, 
that the souls of the dead see and hear without the bodily 
organs of sight and hearing. 

How many times have I not read these sentences, marked 
by traces of tears, in the letters of heartbroken women: ^'I 
cannot live without him. Our two souls were one. My mind 
is torn. Oh, this separation! I am religious. I believe. I 
hope. But I do not know ! If I only knew that he sees me 
and that he sees his children ! ' ' 

I have always replied : ' ' Human beings survive death, and 
souls which love each other are not separated. Those who 
are invisible are not absent." 

As for the explanation, as for the conditions under which 
manifestations occur — these I do not know. 

It is extremely difficult, on this strange planet of ours, to 
be frank and honest. From the first page of the first volume 
of the present work I have been declaring that my sole object 
is to collect observed facts and to draw conclusions only from 
positive proofs; that there is here a new science to be estab- 
lished : psychic science, established upon the same experimen- 
tal foundations as the so-called exact sciences. Several critics 
have reproached me with not having drawn conclusions 
speedily enough; with indecision as to the interpretation of 
certain facts. Instead of understanding the necessity foi 
this method, they confuse the most unlike phenomjena: subv 



44 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

stance-production with thought-transmission, the living with 
the dead. They declare that one should not grant the 
existence of that which one is incapable of explaining. In- 
deed, to a few of these critics, all the cases cited prove 
nothing; nothing at all. Margaritas ante porcos! Why do 
the blind busy themselves with problems of optics when it 
is so easy to do nothing? If, for example, I declare that it 
is now impossible for any savant, whoever he be, to divine 
how some one dead, or even some one alive who is dying a 
thousand kilometers away, can strike blows upon your 
window or your table, I do not see why the absence of an ex- 
planation should justify any one in declaring that there is 
here only illusion. In vain we pile up occurrences scrupu- 
lously observed; the work accomplishes nothing. People, 
with one voice, repeat this piece of stupidity: "It is not 
possible; therefore, it is not true." 

We should be in error, mark you, if we thought that there 
were neither hallucinations nor chance coincidences at times. 
As for me, I bear in mind, constantly, the usual objections. 
The scientific method is to consider all, to weigh all. It is 
none the less true that manifestations of the dead remain 
indubitable. 

The examples I have just elucidated before the jury of my 
readers can, it seems to me, leave no doubt in any unfettered 
mind, desirous of learning the truth. No doubt can remain 
that, in certain circumstances and under observation, the 
dead have manifested themselves, and have thus proved that 
they are not really dead. Thinkers have long known this. 
But we may repeat, one and a half centuries after him, what 
the philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote, saying once more 
virtually what Cicero had already said, approximately two 
thousand years before him: 

Philosophy, which does not fear to compromise itself by investi- 
gating all sorts of futile questions, is often most perplexed when 



A GENERAL INVESTIGATION 45 

it finds in its path certain facts that it cannot doubt with impunity, 
and that it cannot believe without making itself ridiculous. Such 
is the case with tales of ghosts. There is, indeed, no reproach to 
which philosophy is more sensitive than that of credulity and of be- 
lief in common superstitions. Those who claim cheaply the name 
and eminence of savants make fun of all that which, inexplicable 
to the savant as well as to the ig-norant man, puts both of them 
upon the same level. As a result of this, ghost-stories are always 
listened to in privacy but disavowed publicly. We may be sure 
that an academy of science will never choose a like theme as a sub- 
ject of competition; not that each of its members is convinced of 
the futility and falsity of these accounts, but because laws of pru- 
dence put discreet limits upon the investigation of such questions. 
Ghost-stories will always find secret believers and will always be 
regarded in public with well-bred incredulity. 

As for me, my ignorance of the manner in which the human 
spirit enters this world and of that in which it leaves this world 
forbids me to deny the truth of the various stories that are current. 

To-day, we may all think as did the author of the ' ' Critique 
of Pure Reason" and not reject with unjustifiable disdain 
ghost-stories such as the example I have just given. It is 
noteworthy that in France the Academy of Sciences no longer 
rules out such subjects of inquiry, and that it even offers an 
annual prize (the Emden prize) for works concerned with 
these great problems. The ''ghost-stories" discussed in this 
chapter are no longer disdained. They may, however, have 
amazed more than one reader. We shall have many others 
before our eyes ! I shall give them according to that classifi- 
cation which is most logical and most helpful for our study. 
It seems to me that it will be interesting to relate first, with 
especial emphasis, accounts of the dead who have manifested 
themselves after taking an oath and making a promise. 



II 



THE DEAD WHO HAVE RETURNED ACCORDING TO PREVIOUS 
AGREEMENTS 

I see without fear theJ grave, with its 
everlasting shadows ; 

For I know that the body finds a prison 
there, 

But the soul finds wings ! 

VicTOE Hugo. 

WE have already come upon manifestations of this 
sort, in Volume II of the present work. A case 
in point is the precise account given by Mademoi- 
selle Ximenez de Bustamante (pages 341-343). We asked 
ourselves whether the young girl who came so suddenly to 
announce her death to her friend had already died, or were 
still on this side of the barrier. We read, too (pages 113- 
116), of the apparition which showed itself to Countess 
Kapnist, in St. Petersburg — that of a friend who had promised 
to come back, and who appeared even before he was dead. 
We shall devote here a special chapter to manifestations in 
fulfilment of promises, thus showing the survival, after death, 
of the soul, and the persistence of memory. The chapter 
which we have just read offers the first case of posthumous 
fulfilments of promises — that of the friend of Dr. Caltagirone 
of Palermo, striking, as he had promised, the chandelier in 
the dining-room. Such bits of testimony are numerous, and 
our only difficulty is the selection of those to be investigated. 
One of the most remarkable apparitions of the collection 
which I have long been making is that of Lord Brougham's 
friend. The story of it was related by this eminent person- 
age himseK. 

46 



PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS 47 

The men of my generation had opportunities to see this 
fine-looking old man, either in Paris or in Cannes, where 
he died in 1868. (He was born in Edinburgh in 1778.) 
Lord Brougham wrote his autobiography and published the 
following quotation from it on October 16, 1862. No doubt 
has ever been cast on the exactitude of the recollection.^ 
The event took place in December, 1799 ; the future politician 
and celebrated English historian was then only twenty-one, 
and was making a trip through Sweden. lie writes : 

The weather was cold. Upon arriving in Gottenburg, at an at- 
tractive-looking inn, I asked for a hot bath, and while taking it 
I had such an odd adventure that I wish to tell of it from the begin- 
ning. 

I had had a school friend, in high school, named G , whom 

I particularly loved and esteemed. At times we discussed the great 
subject of the immortality of the soul. One day we were foolish 
enough to draw up a contract, written in our blood, stating that 
whichever of us two should die first, that one should return and 
manifest himself to the other in order to banish any doubt that 
he might have had as to the continuation of life after death. 
G left for India, and I virtually forgot his existence. 

I was then, as I say, in my bath, in delicious enjoyment of the 
grateful heat that warmed my numbed limbs, when, preparing to 
rise, I cast my eyes upon the chair on which I had put my clothing, 

and what was my stupefaction to see my friend G seated 

there, gazing at me calmly! How I got out of the bath-tub 1 
cannot say, for when I came to myself I found myself stretched 
out on the floor. This apparition, or whatever the phenomenon 
was which was a likeness of my friend, was no longer there. So 
strongly was I impressed that I wished to write down, without de- 
lay, all the details together with the date, which was December 19th. 

Lord Brougham adds that upon his return to Edinburgh 
he found a letter from India, telling him of the death of his 
friend, which occurred on December 19th. 

1 See Phantasms of the Living (1886), I, 395; Life and Times of 
Lord Brougham (1871), p. 201. 



48 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

In his account the learned writer states that he had in 
this instance a dream which, despite its characteristic exacti- 
tude, can have coincided only by chance with his friend's 
death. But in telling of it Myers remarks, justly, that the 
description of the bath and of the incident are not in accord 
with this hypothesis. We might suppose it an illusion pro- 
duced by the arrangement of the garments thrown over a 
chair; but the friend's gaze? Was it an hallucination? 
No, for Lord Brougham declares that during his long life 
he had never had a single hallucination. We are led to 
believe, in this case, in the influence of the dead man's soul 
on his friend's mind, an influence which took the form of an 
image. 

In the present state of our knowledge of psychic phenom- 
ena, we must ask ourselves if the apparition appeared at the 
moment of death or after it. The occurrence took place 
on December 19th, about two o'clock in the morning (or 
perhaps on December 20th). The friend died, in India, on 
December 19th. At what time? We do not know; but we 
know that the farther east one is, the later is the hour. The 
probabilities are that there was a more or less long interval 
after the demise. We can readily understand that Lord 
Brougham dared not take a definite stand, and took refuge 
in the hypothesis of a dream — a hypothesis, however, in which 
there is little probability. We think, naturally, that if we 
had before our eyes but a single case of this sort, we, too, 
should doubt. But there are so many ! And at every period 
of time ! 

We have only to skim through ancient treatises on psychic 
phenomena to come upon experiences similar to that of Lord 
Brougham. Let us open, for example, Don Calmet's book, 
published in 1746: ''Dissertations sur les apparitions des 
anges des demons et des esprits et sur les revenants" ("Dis- 
sertations upon Apparitions of Angels, Demons, and Spirits, 
and upon Ghosts"). In Chapter XLVI, Part II (page 375), 



PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS 49 

we find under the heading ''Persons who have promised one 
another to give, after their death, news of the other world," 
the following lines : 

The Marquis of Rambouillet's story, told after the death of the 
Marquis of Precy, is famous. The two noblemen were discussing 
the after life, as men who were not entirely convinced of all that 
is said of it. They promised each other that the first of the two 
who should die would appear and bring news of the death, to the 
other. The Marquis of Rambouillet left for Flanders, where war 
was then being waged, and the Marquis of Precy remained in Paris, 
kept there by a severe fever. Six weeks afterward, he heard the 
curtains of his bed being drawn. Turning to see who it was, he 
perceived the Marquis of Rambouillet in a buff-jacket and boots. 
He rose from his bed to embrace him, but Rambouillet, stepping 
back several paces, told him that he had come to fulfil his promise; 
that all that was said of the other life was true; that he (Precy) 
should change his way of life; that he would soon die. Precy 
again made an effort to embrace his friend, but his arms closed 
on nothing but air. Then Rambouillet, seeing that he did not be- 
lieve what he had said, showed him the spot where he had received 
a musket wound in the back, from which the blood still seemed 
to be flowing. 

Precy received soon afterward, by letter, confirmation of the 
Marquis of Rambouillet's death. When fighting in the civil war, 
he was, himself, killed in the battle of Faubourg Saint- Antoine. 

It is probable that the story was more or less changed 
and rearranged, especially as regards the phantom's words. 
But it is probable, also, that it was not made out of whole 
cloth. One finds it again in a book by Collin de Plancy, 
written to combat credulity and superstition.^ After having 
given it, with even more details, he adds: 

While admitting the truth of all the circumstances connected 
with the happening, one can, however, draw no conclusion in favor 

^ 'DicfAomiaire infernal (Paris, 1826), IV, 344. 



50 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

of ghosts. It is not difficult to understand that the Marquis of 
Precy's imagination, heated by fever and troubled by the memory 
of the promise which Rambouillet and he had made each other, 
should have conjured up the phantom of his friend. He knew this 
friend was in the army and in danger of being killed at any mo- 
ment; perhaps he even knew that there was to be a battle with the 
enemy that day. The circumstances connected with the Marquis of 
Rambouillet's wound, and the prediction of Precy's death, which 
was realized, must be taken more seriously. Nevertheless, those 
who have felt the power of presentiments may easily conceive that 
the Marquis of Precy's mind, disturbed by the heat of the malady, 
followed the fortunes of his friend m all the hazards of war; that 
Precy lived in constant expectation of having his friend's phantom 
announce what must happen to him; that Precy foresaw that the 
Marquis of Rambouillet would be killed by a musket shot in the 
back, and that the battle-ardor which he himself felt would lead 
to his own death at the first encounter. Before believing in occur- 
rences which are outside the natural course of events, we must have 
certain proof; and in this case we have neither witnesses nor 
records nor historians that are worthy of entire confidence. 

This reasoning is most sagacious, and it is in accordance 
with this just estimate of things that we are faithful to-day, 
in our inquiry, to the exactions of the experimental method. 
Investigation must verify the truth of the facts related. But 
let us not reject all these accounts by dismissing the cases, 
though we should, above all, see to it that we accept the 
facts only for what they are worth. That is why it is im- 
portant, in our personal investigation, to compare all observa- 
tions, without prejudice. 

It is noteworthy that people take advantage of every loop- 
hole: Lord Brougham's is a ''dream"; Collin de Plancy's 
is a ''presentiment." Let us remain free! 

Perhaps it was the difficulty, or even the impossibility, of 
granting the real presence of the Marquis of Rambouillet 's 
phantom, in war attire and boots, which prevented this story 
from being conceded as true. To-day we think that, as in 



PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS 51 

the case of Lord Brougham's friend, there was no material 
apparition in the case — merely the influence of a dead 
man's spirit upon that of a living man. 

Before proceeding farther, we may well ask ourselves of 
what the phantoms consist whose manifestations we have here 
been examining. 

A long study of these phenomena has led me to conclude, 
with Myers, that nothing justifies us in affirming that the 
phantom which appears is the person himself, in the ordinary 
sense of the word. We are here concerned, rather, with those 
hallucinatory forms or phantoms which we studied in the 
second volume, projections which we actually see, beyond 
a doubt. We investigated them without concluding that 
the apparition is the living person. Likewise, what we 
call a specter or a ghost is in no way the deceased person him- 
self. There exists, certainly, a connection between the specter 
and the defunct human being, a connection the nature of 
which is still to be determined, but the identity is not com- 
plete. 

All this was presented in Volume II, in the chapter 
'' Thought as a Generator of Images." Myers writes, as his 
view : 

A posthumous phenomenon may be a manifestation of the per- 
sistence of personal energy ^ or even an indication merely that a 
certain force, associated with a person whom we have known during 
his terrestrial life, continues to manifest itself after his death. 
Theoretically it is possible that this force or influence which, after 
the death of a person, creates a phantasmagorial impression of the 
person, is due not to the actual functioning of the latter, but to 
some residue of the force or energy which that person generated 
while stiU alive. We have examples of this in certain cases of 
haunting. 

As for me, after a long, special study of apparitions (during 
a period of about thirty years) I have reached this double 



52 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

conclusion: (1) They are real; (2) in general, they are not 
material, ponderable. 

It will be helpful to pass in review a few cases, without 
further delay. 

At a date already far in the past, an eminent seeker. 
Monsieur Castex-Degrange, who was extremely desirous of 
learning the truth, wrote me as follows (it was in the last 
century, on March 13, 1899) : 

Though I value, quite at its true worth, your high personal dis- 
tinction, and share fully your views as to those who are profession- 
ally '^credulous" or "incredulous," there is, to me, something lack- 
ing in your investigations. 

In my view — alas, I am a trifle skeptical! — the supremely inter- 
esting thing would be the proof of the survival of the individual 
after death, the scientific proof. This proof would have, for our 
poor human kind, many consequences that could make it happier 
and better. 

In "L'Ineonnu" you speak only of the "living"; for in my view 
these manifestations of dying people may be the last gleam of a 
lamp which is going out. 

And now you promise that you will also speak of the "dead." 
Well and good! 

I do not know if you have a great many "cases" in reserve. Will 
you allow me to relate an absolutely authentic one — one which I 
can vouch for, on my word of honor? 

You may do what you like with this story, and what you consider 
necessary for the purpose of your investigation. I ask you only 
to keep the names to yourself, if you give this case, and to put 
down merely initials of some sort. 

Two years ago an aunt of mine Avas still alive, — a fine woman and 
the best of friends. Her name was Madame A. B . 

This aunt, who died at the age of eighty-three, had as a child- 
hood friend a certain Madame C , whose daughter is still liv- 
ing. The latter can bear witness to the truth of the account, as 
can my wife, a niece of Madame A. B . 

These two women had made a mutual promise to pay each other 



PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS 53 

a visit after death. Tlie first to die was to go to see the one remain- 
ing upon earth. 

Madame C-- — died. This caused my poor aunt great sorrow. 

Some days later, my aunt, slightly indisposed, was lying on her 
bed. A night lamp half lighted her bedroom. 

Suddenly she saw her friend, seated in her arm-chair, which was 
drawn up near her work-table. 

But — and this is what is most odd about the vision — Madame 

C had on, over her dress, a sort of cape with a hood, which my 

aunt had never seen her wear. This particular circumstance sur- 
prised the latter a little. 

One or two days after the vision, the dead woman's daughter 
came to inquire as to my aunt's health. My aunt told her of her 
experience, adding that it was probable that she had been the victim 

of an hallucmation. Then Mademoiselle C said to her: "No, 

Madame. My poor mother was put in her coffin with a hooded cape 
on, which she only wore in the evening, when she was alone. She 'd 
had a preference for it for a long time." 

It seems to me (1) that there was no hallucination in this case, 
but a real intention on the part of the person to show herself, 
as well as to give absolute proof that she had really done so; (2) 
that since the vision took place several days after death, it would 
imply the continuance of the soul's existence. 

Castex Degrange. ; 

My readers are already familiar with the signer of this 
letter. (See " L 'Inconnu, " page 84, and '^Les Forces natu- 
relles inconnues," pages 512-525). He is no longer alive 
(1840-1918). He was head of the Lyons National School of 
Fine Arts. His observations of psychic phenomena, which I 
have just recalled to my readers, are particularly instructive, 
but I shall not repeat them here. They end with the state- 
ments just given, which I have not previously made public. 

Yes, these visions are really produced by the dead, whose 
spirits act upon ours. In the same way, in our second 
volume, we proved that this was the case with telepathic 
transmission during life. 



54 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Let us investigate other occurrences. 

A minister plenipotentiary, whose perfect sincerity I well 
know, related to me, in 1900, the following disturbing little 
adventure : 

Father N , parish priest of , in Moravia, had a niece 

whom he particularly loved; she had lived for some time at his 
home. When they parted, the priest said to her, jestingly: "Well, 
if you die before I do, let me know." 

It happened that some time afterward this niece fell ill of a 
severe malady. A fatal outcome, however, was not expected. 

One day. Father N , quite overwhelmed, went to the young 

priest who was his assistant and told him that while he was quietly 
seated at his desk a short time before, and was, consequently, thor- 
oughly awake, he had seen his niece appear before him, and that 
she had said good-by to him. He had recognized her at once and 
was convinced that she had died. 

The news, which he received confirmed this supposition, and the 
time of her death coincided with the day and the hour of the 
apparition. 

I am giving you the names in the ease, as well as my own name, 
because I, too, detest anonymity, and I wish you to know that there 
is here no mystification. However, you will, I am sure, take into 
account my wish, prompted by the regard due others, that in case 
you publish this account, the names be omitted. 

Allow me, dear Master, to express my high regard for you. 

Baron de Maricourt. 

(Letter 964.) 

(In conformity with my correspondent's wishes, I give 
only the initials of the names, in order to avoid indiscretion.) 

Simply to deny these stories, as is so generally done, is not 
honest, though it is the simplest method of avoiding all ex- 
planation. It is our opinion that this apparition at the 
moment of death was connected with the compact that had 
been made. 



PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS 55 

One hears the objection, at times, that members of the 
clergy are more readily disposed than others to admit the 
reality of manifestations from beyond the grave. This is an 
error. Some of them are more skeptical than their calling 
would lead ns to suppose (I have letters) ; others are be- 
lievers, admitting the existence of hell, purgatory, and para- 
dise, and refusing to grant the truth of these occurrences, be- 
cause they attribute them to the devil. (I have letters in sub- 
stantiation of this, too.) 

The following manifestation, which took place after an odd 
promise, may be compared with the preceding one. The 
account was sent me, on March 25, 1899, by a correspondent 
whose sincerity can be questioned no more than that of the 
previous ones. 

Do not think that members of the clergy are over-credulous. 

About twelve years ago a colleague and friend of mine, who was 
a strong partizan of the cause of spiritualism, said to me at a 
gathering at which there were both laymen and clergymen, that 
several of his friends, in dying, had pushed his shoulder with their 
hands. Since this communication was received by us all, and by me, 
particularly, with a smile, — or, rather, a burst of incredulous laugh- 
ter, — he turned to me, addressing me in particular, and said, 
laughing, that he would reserve his first reappearance for me. 

When we parted, after shaking hands, no one gave another 
thought to the matter. Six months afterward, on an evening in 
February, when I was kneeling before a seat in church, I felt a 
sudden push on my shoulder, a push which made me bend forward 
sharply. 

I turned around at once, to see whence had come this ill-timed 
familiarity. But I realized that it could have come from no one 
of the persons present, for the one nearest me was at least six 
meters away. 

I then thought of the conversation which I have mentioned. I 
reflected that it was possible that some one I knew had produced 
this supernatural or extra-natural manifestation. Some days after- 



56 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

ward I learned of the sudden death of my estimable colleague, 
which had come with lightning swiftness. He had died on precisely 
the day and at the hour of this manifestation. 

BouiN^ 
Honorary Canon^ Pastor of Douze, Dordogne. 
(Letter 4.) 

This narration interested me doubly. It bears all the marks 
of absolute sincerity. We can attribute it not to some one 
living or to some one dying but to a worthy man who had 
just died and who kept his fantastic promise. We might con- 
clude from this, too, that there is nothing disagreeable about 
the transition from life to death, and that it leaves us a 
certain freedom. 

I am taking the following statement from another letter, 
which was sent me at the same period : 

A young woman, a paralytic, would often spend the afternoon 
at my aunt's home. My cousins, who knew how good-natured she 
Was, and who liked to laugh, would make from time to time some 
little jest as to the position in which she might find herself in the 
other world. 

"You don't seem to believe in the other world, much," she an- 
swered, smiling, "and you 're making fun of me. That is n't nice, 
you know. But I '11 have my revenge : when I 'm dead, I '11 come 
and frighten you." 

She died a short time afterward. Some weeks went by, and no 
one thought any longer of her little threat, when, in a thick cup- 
board door, a strange noise made itself heard. It sounded like a 
series of blows, purposely struck. Called by my aunt, my cousins 
hurried to her, and examined the piece of furniture. There seemed 
nothing unusual about it. But when they expressed their impa- 
tience, the noise answered so loudly that they drew back, terrified. 
I am telling you of this happening, though it is of such slight im- 
portance, because it is unquestionable and because we know that 
you overlook nothing in order to discover all, and because we all 



PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS 5T 

have, for you, a feeling of profound veneration: I have named 
my child Camille, to commemorate my having read your works. 

J. Vivoux, 
Digne, March, 1899. 
(Letter 386.) 

The following v^as a similar occurrence. A correspondent 
who said that his name was for my eyes only wrote me from 
Paris on April 30, 1899 : 

I have the honor of telling you of the following experience, which 
bears out the results of your investigation. My clear recollection 
of it justifies me in guaranteeing its authenticity. 

I had Monsieur Netom, a printer, at breakfast at my home. He 
said to my wife and me : 

"I was most disagreeably surprised last night. I was waked up, 
suddenly, by a feeling as though my feet were being pulled vio- 
lently; you can^t think how painful it was." 

I attributed this feeling of his to nerves or muscles affected by 
some physical cause, as happens, at times, during sleep. Then the 
conversation took another turn, but Monsieur Netom again brought 
up the experience of the night before, as though it had impressed 
him strongly. 

We were not thrown together again until a year from that date. 
Then we saw him and he said to us : 

"Since we were last together, I have learned of some one's 
death. . . . Well, his death coincided day for day — or, rather, night 
for night — with the night on which I felt that odd sensation of 
my feet being pulled!" 

"What connection was there?" 

"It 's extraordinary ! We 'd always told each other that the one 
who died first should go and pull the other's feet!" 

"Are you sure of the coincidence in dates'?" 

"Heavens ! if you speak to me like an examining magistrate I '11 
have to adniit that I did n't make a precise note of the date. What 
I 'm certain of is that the date of the death was within the period 
when you extended your hospitality to me; I can answer for that. 



58 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

And, besides, I can state positively that I was no more thinking 
of that friend than of the Sultan of Turkey, at the moment when 
the phenomenon occurred/' 
(Letter 648.) 

One of my readers residing in Paris, who wishes that his 
name should not be made public, wrote me on March 26, 1899 : 

My relatives were living in the country. A first cousin of my 
mother, who had attempted to commit suicide after her fiance's 
death, and had failed, had taken refuge with my grandmother, her 
aunt, in order that she might escape ill-treatment by her father, an 
inveterate drunkard. She was waiting until she should be sum- 
moned to a convent, which she had made application to enter. 

She was a temperamental woman, and I have often heard it said 
that at night she would go to the cemetery, to her fiance's grave. 

All my relatives had many and many a time tried to dissuade 
her from the idea of shutting herself up in a convent, — she who 
was so charming, so captivating. By her work, she made her pres- 
ence useful as well as a pleasure, for she knew how to do every- 
thing. There was no sacrifice which we would not have made to 
keep her from so sad an end. 

We said all we could, but it had no effect. So she left, on a 
foggy day which heightened our sadness. She took all our hearts 
with her. 

"To think that I shall never see you again!" said my mother, 
before her departure. "To think that I shall never see you again !" 
said my gTandmother. 

"My dear cousin," she replied to my mother, "I should like to 
come back and see you, for I can't live long. I 've had so many 
shocks, and, what's worst, I have this poison in my blood; but as 
you're timid, I shan't trouble you by my presence. As for you, 
my aunt," she said to my grandmother, laughing, "I know you're 
not afraid ; I '11 make an outrageous racket for you." 

On a certain evening, some time afterward, my grandfather and 
grandmother were about to get into bed, when they heard a terrible 
uproar. Everything seemed in a turmoil; the bricks seemed to be 
knocking against one another violently, the roof seemed to have 



PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS 59 

fallen in. They ran to open the door: all was intact. They were 
amazed and terrified. They went back to bed; there was the same 
noise. "Clementine is dead!" my grandmother cried. The noise 
ceased at once. The next day, about noon, the telegram arrived. 
She had died on the previous day, at the very hour of the uproar, 
in a convent in Amiens. 

The witnesses are still living. 

J. L., 
Paris. 

(Letter 79.) 

The readers of this work are familiar with loud noises of 
the sort and will not be astonished. The first part of our 
present investigation furnished many examples. 

The foregoing manifestation also corresponds to the an- 
nouncement of a purpose which was carried out, to an in- 
tention, to a previous promise. 

Here is another incident, equally strange, which occurred 
after a promise had been made. It was sent us by that ex- 
cellent review "Luce e Ombra"^: 

In 1882, Count Charles Galateri grew to know a certain Virgin!, 
a former officer in the grenadiers. Their conversation turned at 
times to a discussion of spiritualism. Monsieur Galateri tried in 
vain to convince his friend on the subject. One day, half seriously, 
half jestingly, the two comrades promised each other that the 
first who should die would warn the other of this fact. And how? 
By tickling Ms feet! 

Several years went by. In November, 1887, Monsieur Virgini 
told his friend that he had again taken service with the troops in 
Africa. 

On the night of Sunday, August 5, 1888, Monsieur Galateri was 
in bed, when his wife, who was beside him, said to him a trifle 
crossly, "Keep still!" Her husband asked her if she were dream- 
ing, for he had not stirred. She said again: "Keep still, I tell 

^ Luce e Omhra (Rome), Nov., 1905. Annates des Sciences psy- 
chiques, Dec., 1905. 



60 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

you! Don't tickle my feet!" Since Monsieur Galateri continued 
to deny doing this, they thought that some insect might have got 
into the bed; they lighted a candle and looked carefully. Nothing! 
They blew out the candle and got back into bed. But at once 
Countess Galateri started and cried out: "Look! Look at the 
foot of the bed!" Her husband looked and saw nothing, but she 
persisted : "Yes, look ; there 's a tall young man, with a colonial 
helmet on his head. He 's looking at you, and laughing ! Oh, poor 
man! What a terrible wound he has in his chest! And his knee 
is broken ! He 's waving to you, with a satisfied air. He 's dis- 
appearing !" 

The next day, Countess Galateri told some friends and relatives 
of the experience. On Tuesday, August 14th, the newspapers an- 
nounced that a band of native troops commanded by Captain Comac- 
chia and by Lieutenants Poli, Brero, Virginia and Adam Aga had 
been attacked near Saganeiti by the Abyssinians; Virgini, the 
last surviving officer, had been struck on the knee and thelQ killed 
by a bullet in the chest. 

Monsieur de Vesme remarks, in giving this account, that 
it v^ould be desirable to have the written attestation of the 
different persons who were in some manner connected with 
the occurrences; but that nevertheless, the unquestionable 
trustworthiness of the Galateri family and of several of the 
people concerned — people whom he knows personally — gives 
the case a certain importance, even apart from the truthful 
tone of the narration. Count Charles Galateri belongs to 
an honorable family of the Piedmont. 

We may ask ourselves whether the officer who was killed, 
and who remembered his promise, chose the wrong feet by 
mistake or did so purposely, or if telepathic influence were 
exerted upon two minds near together, one of which per- 
ceived nothing. Certainly the story is an odd one, but 'it 
was not fabricated. 

What proof is there that we have no caprices after death, 
and that we are of necessity sad, or even always serious? 



PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS 61 

Manifestations occur in every imaginable variety. The one 
just related is rather amusing ; but that which we shall have 
before our eyes is really dramatic and frankly gruesome. I 
am taking it from Bozzano's excellent work on "Les Pheno- 
menes de hantise." It is substantiated by Professor Hy- 
slop's investigation and the attestations, of five witnesses 
connected with the strange experience. Let us listen to one 
of them, Dr. H. A. Kinnaman: 

My uncle, John W. Kinnaman, my father, Jacob Kinnaman, and 
a young man named Adams were students of medicine, and inti- 
mate friends. One day they made a compact that if one of them 
should die young, the others should have the right to take pos- 
session of his body for purposes of scientific study, on condition 
that the skeleton should always remain in the keeping of friends; 
if the day should come when this condition could no longer be 
observed the skeleton was to be buried. Adams had declared that 
for his part he would insist on the scrupulous observance of the 
compact; otherwise he would protest by making a noise. 

Some time afterward young Adams died; my uncle John, by his 
right as eldest brother, took possession of the body, prepared the 
skeleton and kept it until his death. After him it was kept by 
my father, Dr. Jacob; then by his brother, Dr. Lawrence; then by 
Dr. Jackson, then by my brother Robert, and, finally, by my other 
brother Charles. During this long lapse of time it was noted that 
when the conditions fixed by the compact were complied with, 
Adams remained quiet, but if they were neglected, people were 
tormented. 

I remember that in 1849, when I was a child, my father was 
obliged to go to California for a time, and the skeleton was relegated 
to an attic. This did not satisfy Adams. That very night heavy, 
noisy steps were heard, mounting and descending the attic stair- 
way, or coming and going in the attic itself. These manifestations 
seriously disturbed my mother, because they kept the family from 
sleeping. She begged my uncle to free us from Adams's bones. He 
consented, and as soon as he took them into his care, quiet reigned 
once more in the family. 



62 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

My uncle kept them in his office for a long time, but one day 
he thought he would put them in a distant corner of the house. 
Two families which were living in this part of the building soon 
had to move out as a result of the inexplicable noises heard during 
the night. After these families had left, no one could live in this 
haunted house. When my father returned from California, he 
took Adams's skeleton back and put it in his office. There was 
silence once more. 

My father died in 1874, and my brother Robert inherited the 
bones; he put them under the bed, in a room adjoining his office. 
One day, he thought he would carry them into a neighbor's cellar, 
which was used as a store-room for building materials. They were 
put there without the workmen of the establishment knowing it; 
but a short time afterward these workmen refused to go into the 
cellar in the evening, because of the mysterious noises heard there. 
My brother took the skeleton back, and once more the place be- 
came quiet again. 

Adams's mortal remains are still in the possession of my family. 

Another witness, Dr. C. L. Kinnaman, describes with a 
great abundance of detail the noises heard in the attic when 
Adams's remains were put there. He writes: 

. . . The attic contained hundreds of bottles from a drug store. 
It happened that one night, when every one had gone to bed, 
extraordinary noises were heard, coming from the top of the house; 
noises of bottles knocking together with violence, breaking, and fall- 
ing to the floor. Then we thought we heard a large cannon-ball roll 
downstairs to the dining-room, strike against the door, and then 
mount the stairs again, leaping from one step to another! A mem- 
ber of the family went up into the attic, with a candle in his hand ; 
but the noises ceased at once; everything was found in its place. 
When we had gone to bed again and blown out the light, the mani- 
festations began once more. Some one made the remark that the 
object that was rolling downstairs must be very heavy, to judge 
from the noise that it made; instantly the uproar diminished to 
the mere echo of a light touch, moving up and down from one 
step to another. The manifestations changed according to our re- 



PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS 63 

marks; they continued until we went to bed again, overcome by 
fatigue and sleep. From the day on which the bones were taken out 
of the attic, tranquillity reigned once more in the house. 

Dr. R. C. Kinnaman testified in his turn : 

I was the first to be awakened by the dull sound of a fall, as 
though some one had leaped out of bed in his bare feet; then there 
was a rustling of garments, a slightly louder noise, and at length 
the sound of a heavy body rolling over the floor, going down the 
stairs by leaping from one step to another, and up again, with 
frequent variations in force and tone. My mother chanced to come 
into my room then, with Olivier; although she was a vigorous 
woman, she seemed terribly affected. Both of them, taking lighted 
candles, ventured into the attic; their presence made the noises 
stop. After a fruitless investigation they went away, closing the 
door; at once the noises began again. They returned; the noises 
ceased. Again they left ; the uproar began again as loudly as ever, 
the moment they closed the door.^ 

Such is, in abridged form, the extraordinary case investi- 
gated by Professor James Hyslop. Doubt is not possible. 
The threat of a manifestation, part of this student's singular 
compact, was fully carried out by the deceased man. The up- 
roar did not come from the living, without their knowing 
it. This is proved by the fact that it came to an abrupt halt 
in the presence of the living, only to begin again when they 
went away — a thing frequently noted in phenomena of the 
kind. 

Observed happenings, therefore, prove that the dead return 
after making pledges, promises, and threats, and consequently 
that they continue to exist. Where are they when they 
bring about these phenomena? I know nothing about that. 
Where was this skeleton 's soul ? I do not know. But it was 
evidently that soul which manifested itself. 

We have just given, above, cases of visible manifestations, 

1 Bozzano, Les Phenomenes de hantise, pp. 50-52. 



64 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

of apparitions, and we have already fnrnislied (Volume II, 
Chapter IV) examples of the generation of images by the 
thought of the dying. These phenomena are extremely 
numerous; there are images that are visible, objective, 
external — considered real and material by those who see 
them. The images are nevertheless subjective, arising in the 
mind of the observer, though they cannot be called hallucina- 
tions, being neither unauthentic nor illusory. They proceed 
from a cause : the will of the dying or dead person, which 
produces them. They are psychic projections with the aspect 
of physical projections. 

The case we shall relate is as significant as the preceding 
one, though less gruesome. It concerns a church singer, 
who, was, on a certain Saturday, to rehearse some musical 
selections with a colleague. He died the day before the 
appointment — in the street, of a stroke of apoplexy. He was 
then fifty years old. He appeared to his colleague, a roll of 
music in his hand; his colleague did not know of his death. 
The account was sent to Professor Adams of Cambridge 
(U. S.A.).i Let us read it: 

St. Luke's Church, San Francisco, 
September 11, 1890. 

Some weeks ago our choir-leader, a man robust in health and of 
a most skeptical turn of mind, saw, positively, the apparition of 
one of his singers who had just died: 

Mr. Russell, the bass of the choir, had a stroke of apoplexy in 
the street, on a certain Friday at ten o'clock; he died in his home 
at eleven o'clock. My wife, learning of his death, sent my brother- 
in-law to the home of Mr. Reeves, the choir-leader, to discuss the 
music to be played at the funeral. He arrived at the choir-leader's 
house at about half-past one. Suddenly he heard an exclamation 
in the vestibule. Some one had just cried out, ''Good God!" In 

1 Proceedings of the 8. P. R., VIII, 214. Myers, Human Personality, 
II, 45. 



PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS 65 

the middle of the stairway, sitting on a step, was the choir-leader, 
in his shirt sleeves, showing signs of great terror. 

When Mr. Reeves had come out of his room, he had seen Mr. 
Russell standing on the stairway, one hand on his forehead and 
the other holding a roll of music out to him. The choir-leader went 
toward him, but the phantom vanished. It was then that he uttered 
the exclamation mentioned above. 

He knew nothing of Mr. Russell's death. 

This is the most authentic ghost-story that I have ever heard. 
I know all these persons very well, and can swear to their sincerity. 
I have no doubt that the choir-leader saw something, subjectively or 
objectively: it made him ill for several days, in spite of his usual 
fine health. 

To state my own personal conviction, Mr. Russell was a man of 
very regular habits, very loyal and very dependable; he had sung 
in the choir for years without pay ; his last thought must have been : 
"How shall I let the choir-leader know that I cannot rehearse to- 
morrow evening?" He died in an hour, without having regained 
consciousness. 

The attitude in which he showed himself bears out this hy- 
pothesis; it indicated his malady (pain in the head) and his desire 
to perform his duty. 

W. M. W. Davis, 
Rector. 

The ''San Francisco Chronicle" gave in the following 
terms its version of the curious story : 

On Friday morning, Edwin Russell, a well-known Englishman, 
had reached the corner of Stutter and Mason streets, when he had 
a stroke of apoplexy, and died before noon. He had lived in our 
city for ten years and was respected in the commercial world. He 
was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church and had a 
magnificent bass voice. For this reason he was a great asset to 
the choir of St. Luke's Church, and was in constant touch with the 
Rev. W. W. Davis, rector of the church, and with Harry E. Reeves, 
the new choir-leader. 

It was to Mr. Reeves that the sensational thing happened which 



66 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

people are all talking about. I interviewed him at the home of 
his sister, Mrs. Cavenagh, on California Street. He told me that 
he was not a spiritualist, and gave me the following account: 

"I had seen Russell on the Saturday before his death. He had 
come to rehearse. I had asked him where I might find a good 
cigar, and he had taken me to a cigar store. Then I had invited 
him to my home — or, rather, to my sister's home — to rehearse, and 
we arranged to meet on the following Saturday. I thought no 
more of the matter until Friday afternoon. As it is my custom 
to look through my volumes of music one or two days beforehand, 
for selections to be sung on Sunday, I chose two Te Deums. I 
left my room and saw on the landing, which was half lighted as 
it is now, my friend Mr. Russell, so real, so alive, that I went 
forward at once to give him my hand in welcome. 

"He had a roll of music in one hand, and the other was before 
his face. It was really he. I am absolutely sure of it. Well, 
he melted away like a cloud which vanishes into the air. 

"I was about to speak to him, but was struck dumb. I sank 
down against the wall, crying out : 'Oh, good God V My sister, my 
niece, and another person came up My niece asked, 'Uncle Henry, 
what's the matter f I wished to explain, but could not speak. 
Then my niece said to me, 'Did you know that Mr. Russell is 
dead?' I was literally stupefied by this. I saw this Russell three 
hours after his death as well as I see you in that arm-chair." 

The investigation made by the English Society for Psy- 
chical Research — one in which every possible precaution was 
taken — left no doubt as to this spontaneous apparition. The 
cry uttered by Mr. Reeves was heard by witnesses; the 
vision was perceived in an absolutely normal state, and the 
hypothesis of an hallucination is utterly inadmissible, given 
all the circumstances attendant upon the phenomenon. 

"We are concerned here, as in cases in which promises and 
pledges to appear were fulfilled, with a very definite intention 
not to miss a meeting agreed upon. To refuse to accept 
the occurrence, to go on indefinitely seeking flaws, would 
lead us nowhere. 



PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS 67 

Manifestations of the dead are numerous and varied, as 
we have ascertained. Here is still another, which greatly 
astonished the beholder. An Indian half-breed appeared to 
a traveler, a woman, after having sworn to her to do so. He 
was in Colorado, and she, having gone back to Europe, was 
then in Switzerland. Mrs. Bishop, nee Bird, a well-known 
traveler and writer, related the following incident.^ While 
traveling in the Rocky Mountains, Miss Bird had grown to 
know an Indian half-breed, James Nugent, called '' Mountain 
Jim," and she had had considerable influence upon him. 
She writes: 

On the day of my departure, he was much affected. I had had 
a long conversation with him on the subject of this .mortal life 
and immortality, a conversation which I had ended with some quo- 
tations from the Bible. He seemed to me to be greatly impressed, 
and had cried : *'I '11 not see you again in this life, perhaps, but 
X '11 see you when I die." I reproved him gently for his violence 
of speech, but he repeated the same words even more vehemently, 
adding : "I '11 never forget your words, and I swear I 'II see you 
again when 1 die." On this, we parted. 

For some time I had letters from him; I learned that his con- 
duct had improved, then that he had fallen back into his savage 
customs; that he had been wounded in a brawl, then that he was 
better and was meditating plans of revenge. The last time I 
heard from him, I was at the Hotel Interlaken, in Interlaken, 
Switzerland, with Miss Clayton and the Kers. Some time after 
this (it was in September, 1874) I was stretched out on my bed 
one morning, writing a letter to my sister, when, lifting my eyes, 
I saw Mountain Jim standing before me. His eyes were fixed 
on me, and he said to me in a low voice, but very distinctly : "Here 
I am, as I promised." Then he made a gesture, and added, 
"Good-by!" 

When Miss Bessie Ker came to bring me my breakfast, we noted 
the date and time of the happening. News of Mountain Jim's 

^Phantasms of the Living, I, 531. Hallucinations telepathiques, 
p. 185, 



68 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

death reached us some time afterward; taking into account the 
difference in longitude, the date coincided with that of his ap- 
parition. 

In reply to inquiries concerning this story, Mrs. Bishop 
wrote that she had never had any other sensory hallucination. 
She had seen Mountain Jim for the last time in St. Louis, 
on December 11, 1873. At Fort Collins, in the state of 
Colorado, where he died, it was ascertained that his death 
took place on September 7, 1874. The half-breed's promise, 
or threat, was exactly fulfilled. 

We cannot, however, refrain from remarking that these 
pledges, these compacts, these promises, are far from always 
being kep;t. As for me, people have made me a certain 
number, and I have never perceived anything. Is this the 
fault of those who have died, or my own fault ? Is it always 
possible for some one dead to manifest himself ? Is it always 
possible for a living person to perceive manifestations ? They 
are produced by vibrations, and the harp-strings capable of 
being touched by them are doubtless rare enough. 

While on the subject of the difficulty and rarity of appari- 
tions we may, with Myers, take note of the experience of 
Countess Kapnist, and observe that the fulfilment of agree- 
ments of this sort is often made through intermediaries — a 
strange enough fact.^ For example, it was Countess Kap- 
nist 's sister who saw the apparition, not she herself. It is 
probable that a good many attempts have not succeeded be- 
cause of the maladaptation of the subjects, and that they 
would have ended in typical manifestation if the one who 
wished to appear had chosen more sensitive subjects. 

It is the same in the following instance, the indirect ful- 
filment of a promise. A lady who had made a compact with 
a friend, was seen in phantom form after her death, by the 

^ At the Moment of Death, p. 113. Human Personality, II, 51 and 
350, Sec. 727 A. Proceedings of the 8. P. R., V, 440. 



PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS 69 

friend's husband but not by the friend herself. This curious 
example was furnished by the Rev. Arthur Bellamy of Bristol, 
in February, 1886.^ His account follows: 

When she was a school-girl my wife had made a pact with one 
of her comrades that the one who died first should appear 
to the surviving one, God willing. In 1874 my wife, who for years 
had neither seen her school friend nor heard of her, learned of 
her death. This news reminded her of the compact which they 
had made, and she then began to dwell upon it, and spoke of it 
to me. I knew of this agreement of my wife, but had never seen 
a photograph of her friend, nor heard anything concerning her. 

One or two nights afterward we were sleeping quietly; a bright 
fire shone in the room and there was a lighted candle. I awakened 
suddenly and saw a lady seated beside the bed in which my wife 
was sleeping deeply. I sat up in bed and gazed at her; I saw hw 
so clearly that I can still remember her form and her attitude. 
If I had an artist's skill, I could paint her likeness upon canvas. 
I remember that I was struck particularly with the careful way 
in which her hair was dressed; it was arranged with a certain 
elegance. I cannot say how long I sat gazing at her; but as soon 
as this odd phantom vanished I got out of bed to see if the gar- 
ments hung over the head of the bed had caused some optical 
illusion. But there was nothing, in my line of vision, between me 
and the wall. Since I could not thmk it an hallucination, I did 
not doubt that I had really seen an apparition. 

I got back into bed and remained there until my wife awakened, 
some hours afterward. Only then did I describe to her the face 
which I had seen. Complexion, stature, etc. — all was in exact 
accordance with my wife's recollection of her childhood friend. I 
asked my wife if there were anything particularly striking in her 
friend's appearance; she answered at once, "Yes, at school we used 
to tease her about her hair, wliich she always arranged with special 
care." It was precisely this which had struck me. 

I must add that I had never seen an apparition before this, and 
have not since. 

Arthur Bellamy. 

1 Human Personality, II, 350, Sec. 727 A. 



70 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

We may suppose that the apparition was caused by the 
psychic influence which Mrs. Bellamy's deceased friend had 
upon her, and that she transmitted it to her husband, since 
there was no reason why the dead woman should manifest her- 
self to this gentleman, who was a stranger to her. But other 
considerations perplex us. What strikes us above all is that 
the manifestation intended for the wife was seen by her hus- 
band and not by her. We have already noted ("At the Mo- 
ment of Death," page 348) that an apparition intended for 
Mrs. Gierke was seen by her negro servant and not by her. 
And how about the case of Madame Galateri's feet being tick- 
led? And my readers have also been reminded of Countess 
Kapnist. 

I have before my eyes five or six times the number of cases 
I have given, cases in which the dead fulfilled promises that 
they remembered precisely and were able to carry out — 
among others, the very touching story of General Thiebault, 
published in his Memoirs (Paris, 1893; Volume I, pages 
43-47), as to the apparition of his brother, followed by this 
sentence : "I have never been able to believe in it, and never- 
theless I have never been able to doubt it." Space is lack- 
ing for their publication. The examples just given are suffi- 
cient, it would seem to me, to convince us of the reality of 
the manifestations. Other cases will add nothing to the 
proofs. We must admit the authenticity of the phenomena. 
As for explaining them, that is more difficult. 

I shall select one more letter from among those received. 
It was sent me from Kaliche, Russian Poland, on June 27, 
1913. 

Most esteemed Monsieur Flammarion : 

My father, after bis death in 1879, proved to me that he was 
still alive, through signs which we had agreed upon beforehand: 

(1) The window-pane which we had designated cracked in a 
straight, horizontal line: it broke with a noise like the firing of 



PREVIOUS AGREEMENTS 71 

a gun; (2) the clock which we had selected (its strokes were or- 
dinarily rapid and gay) began to strike the hours slowly and 
sadly, and for several weeks continued to do so. 

I must be silent no longer, because I am old. And since you, 
the champion of truth, are no longer young, either, it is your duty 
not to be silent, for the world is listening to you. 

Nicholas Stepanow. 

(Letter 2358.) 

If in 1913 my advanced age constituted a reason for not 
keeping silent, there is still greater reason in 1922, and I 
bov^ to my duty by classifying all this testimony for the sake 
of our store of general knowledge. 

In the face of the facts we have the impression, as Oliver 
Lodge said, that the souls of the dead are striving to enter 
into relations with us, as we with them, and that on both 
sides such efforts resemble those of pioneers who in order to 
open a tunnel through a mountain work at both ends of the 
tunnel. The wall separating the ends of the two passage- 
ways is still thick, but we are beginning to hear, from this 
side, the blows of pickaxes on the other side. It would even 
seem that the barrier is already being penetrated by X-rays. 

So we have seen, indubitably, cases of the dead returning 
by reason of mutual pledges or promises. It seems to me 
that this second chapter, read after the first, cannot fail to 
strengthen the foundations upon which the new science must 
be built. Let us go on with our investigation by proving, 
now, that the dead also return on account of personal matters, 
quite apart from the declared intentions of which we have 
spoken. 



Ill 



THE DEAD WHO HAVE RETURNED TO ATTEND TO 
PERSONAL AFFAIRS 

Truth may, at times, appear 
improbable. 

BOILEAU. 

THIS heading may surprise more than one reader. 
We have just had before our eyes varied examples 
of the dead who have manifested themselves be- 
cause of promises made during life. The examples which we 
shall present in this chapter will show us posthumous phenom- 
ena no less worthy of our attention, having as an object the 
setting in order of personal affairs. Here, as before, the first 
objection which we must bring forward is that an explanation 
may be found in the observers' own minds ; but it has seemed 
to us that this objection would not apply to the foregoing 
accounts, such as Lord Brougham's, the apparition of Kam- 
bouillet. Monsieur Castex-Degrange's statement, that of 
Monsieur de Maricourt, of Canon Bouin, the apparition of 
Russell the singer, and so on. It will be the same with the 
following cases. Nevertheless let us make a careful examina- 
tion, that no obscurity may remain after our inquiry. 

Since we are seeking truth, whatever it be, our duty is 
to admit any hypothesis, while protecting ourselves through 
analysis. Let us compare, let us investigate everything. 

A ''possibility" which presents itself as an explanation of 
these manifestations, is that of thought-transmission from 
the living to the living. The solid body of testimony as to 
this sort of phenomena, supported ceaselessly by new occur- 

72 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 73 

rences, constitutes a foundation of the highest importance 
for our psychic investigation. 

This thought-transmission may explain certain phenomena 
attributed to the dead, who appear to return from beyond 
the grave, and take a hand in our affairs, although the mani- 
festations may be due, in many cases, to emanations from our 
world of the living. 

Our ''unconscious mind," or, if one prefers, "subconscious 
mind," is a receiving apparatus; its sensitiveness varies 
according to the particular person under consideration. It 
is, besides, a prodigious storehouse of latent impressions. 
Some of them, by reason of certain physical or psychic ex- 
ternal influences, emerge from the inmost, mysterious depths 
of our psychic being, through a process that is still little 
known; others — the greater part of them — remain buried 
there and are absorbed. 

A debtor's thoughts may, while he is alive, be transmitted 
to his children and remain for months in their minds — impres- 
sions that are hidden, unguessed, lost amid all the other 
latent impressions but not destroyed. Then, for some un- 
known reason, and in favorable circumstances, they may de- 
tach themselves — above all, in dreams — clarify, and emerge, 
distinct and definite, from the obscurity of the subconscious. 
It may be the same with knowledge of a secret hiding-place 
for money. 

This is only a hypothesis, but it is worthy of our attention. 
Even if, in the manifestations, there were but new testimony 
as to the unknown faculties with which living beings are 
endowed, the acquisition to the new science, however modest 
it be, should be given due consideration. Before plunging 
into the future life, let us strive to know terrestrial life 
better. 

Words are not indispensable for the expression of thought, 
for unformulated thought is at times transmitted. I, for 



74 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

one, know of a number of cases scientifically verified by ex- 
periments. 

Words are one of the last conquests of mankind. Before 
making use of articulate speech, our remote ancestors made 
themselves understood by uttering cries with a meaning, 
like animals. To-day, with language as our tool, we are 
incapable of understanding all that is hidden in the sounds of 
the animal world. 

On the subject of thought-transmission, my learned friend 
Dr. Coste de Lagrave sent me an account, among others, of 
the following experiment, which he himself made. He said: 

I choose the leaf of a tree. I fill my mind with its aspect; I 
make it a part of me psychically, so that I shall be sure to know 
it, afterward, among a hundred thousand others. I go back to the 
sensitive subject, who is standing about fifty meters away. He 
puts a bandage over his eyes, I take his wrist, place my fingers 
on his pulse, and, thinking of the designated leaf, follow him. 
He runs swiftly, drawing me after him, halts at the spot where 
the leaf is, stretches out his free hand and places it carefully on 
the leaf which I have chosen mentally some minutes before. This 
is the result of the transmission of unformulated thought. 

I have, so far as possible, put myself in touch with those ca- 
pable of transmitting thought, above all to discover if there were 
not some deception, and to make experiments myself. The power 
of transmitting unformulated thought is a faculty which really 
exists, but which is more or less developed according to the indi- 
vidual. With certain subjects, it is greatly developed; the power 
of receiving unformulated thought may be equally developed, and 
certain subjects give remarkable results. 

The foregoing is what Dr. Coste de Lagrave has to say on 
the matter; in Paris his course in psychology has long been 
valued. In days gone by I myself made similar experiments 
with Ninof and Clovis Hugues (''L'Inconnu," page 316), 
which prove the reality of thought-transmission. And 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 75 

readers may remember my experiment with Charcot at the 
Saltpetriere Hospital; I told of it in the chapter entitled 
^'Thought as a Generator of Images," in the volume ''At the 
Moment of Death" (page 84). 

In the course of more than a century, twenty-eight im- 
portant works on dreams have been written, the first by 
Maine de Biran (1792), the last by Yves Delage (1920). 
The list includes one of the most authoritative books, Alfred 
Maury's (1861) ; I have all of them before me, and I must 
give it as my opinion that not one of them has yet furnished 
a complete and definite explanation of dreams. 

How shall we decide whether an apparition, or a similar 
manifestation, of a deceased person is anything more than 
a simple subjective manifestation, or, if a dream, is caused 
by a mind exterior to ours? 

We can reach a conclusion only by careful analysis. 

Let us consider a few significant cases. 

I have long been calling attention to psychic occurrences. 
My readers have already had an opportunity to read, in 
"Uranie," of the following odd episode, taken from the life 
of Swedenborg: 

In 1761, Madame de Marteville, widow of a former Dutch min- 
ister to Sweden, received from one of her husband's creditors a 
demand for the sum of twenty-five thousand Dutch florms. She 
knew that this had been paid by her husband; to pay it again 
would have placed her in the greatest straits, would have almost 
ruined her. The receipt could not be found. 

She paid a visit to Swedenborg, and, eight days afterward, saw 
her husband in a dream. He showed her the piece of furniture 
in which the receipt was, together with a hair-pin adorned with 
twenty diamonds, which she had believed was lost also. This hap- 
pened at two o'clock in the morning. Joyful, she rose, and found 
everything in the spot indicated. She went back to bed, and slept 
until nine. About eleven o'clock, Monsieur Swedenborg was 
announced. Before learning anything of what had happened he 



76 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

related that on the previous night, he had seen Monsieur de Marte- 
ville's spirit, who had told him that he was going to his widow. 

These experiences are not so rare as people think. I have, 
at this moment, a great number of such, accounts before my 
eyes. In the very era of which, we are speaking, we may find 
in the story of the Seer of Prevorst (less unreal than it 
seems), the description of several. 

Is there an immanent justice? 

Can one be absolved of a theft committed? Can the theft 
be nullified? 

Among the documents which I have received or collected, 
several communications from deceased persons would indicate 
that they were uneasy, and came back to demand that certain 
things be restored to their rightful owners. 

Since we began this chapter with posthumous revelations 
of financial troubles, let us bring together, here, various 
occurrences of the same sort. 

At the beginning of my inquiry, I received, from Algeria, 
the following letter (April 1899) : 

We know in our immediate circle of a curious happening hav- 
ing to do with Monseigneur Pavie, who, when he died, was Bishop 
of Algiers.^ He was reading in his study, when he heard the door 
open behind him. He turned and saw a shade or vaporous form. 
Its contours were definite enough to enable him to recognize, in it, 
one of his parishioners who had been dead for some time, and of 
whom he had been particularly fond. Then he heard, distinctly, 
these words : "You who loved me, help me ! I left a debt unpaid. 
[He gave the amount, as well as the creditor's name and address]. 
Discharge this debt, that I may cease to suffer." 

The observer, much moved, could not, on account of the lateness 
of the hour, go that very day to the address indicated. He went 
the next day. The information given proved to be exact, and since 

1 1 made this incident public, for the first time, in the Revue des 
remies of July 15, 1899. 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 77 

the amount of the debt corresponded exactly with the sum men- 
tioned by the deceased, the Abbe Pavie paid it. 

There can be no question here of an hallucination. We might 
suppose that the priest learned of the debt, in the confessional, 
and that, through a "pious fraud,'^ he wished to settle things thus. 
But that is hardly probable; it would seem that in this ease he 
would have attributed the revelation to a dream. His precise ac- 
count warrants a totally different interpretation. 

I have received more than one communication similar to 
the foregoing. The foUov^ing account v^as sent me from 
Nice on June 23, 1899 : 

A most estimable, pious lady, living in Paris, told me that her 
father, who had been dead for several years, appeared to her at 
eleven o'clock one night, while she was lying awake in her bed. 
(She was dreaming, doubtless.) Having first calmed the terror 
that had come upon her, he requested her to pay a definite sum 
(his daughter knew absolutely nothing of it) which he owed a 
certain person; he designated the person. Preoccupied by the ex- 
traordinary occurrence, the lady rose early. When she opened her 
window, the first person she saw was the very creditor named by 
the deceased. She asked him in hurriedly, though the hour was 
unseasonable, and requested him to inform her if her father did 
not owe him such and such a sum. He answered in the affirmative, 
and mentioned exactly the sum which the deceased had spoken of 
the night before. 

I can vouch for this occurrence, since I was told of it by a lady 
in whom I have entire confidence. Without believing in appari- 
tions of ghosts, one cannot, all the same, help thinking of these 
things, related by perfectly reasonable persons, quite sound in 
mind and body. I do not feel that I have the right to set down 
the name of this person, whom I am as sure of as I am of my- 
self. But I am signing my name, and giving you my address. 

Peretti. 

(Letter 732.) 

Such dreams are usually explained on the supposition that 
people remember things they already know. But the narrator 



78 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

took care to remark that this person did not know of the 
existence of the debt. 

The following letter brings forward a serious argument in 
favor of survival. I leave my readers to judge of its 
contents : 

Romanow, Province of Volkynie, 
October 13, 1899. 
Dear Master: 

Since I wish to aid yon in your honest, sincere inquiry as to 
manifestations from beyond the grave, I am taking the liberty of 
telling you of a happening that is well known in my family. I 
have frequently heard my relatives talk of it. 

My grandfather's brother, Count Thadee Czacki, after the death 
of his father, saw the latter in a dream. His father told him that 

he had borrowed one hundred ducats from a neighbor, M. N ; 

the lender had not wished to take a written receipt for the sum. 
He asked his son, therefore, to pay the debt, that his soul might 
find rest. 

My great-uncle treated this dream as any other dream, and paid 
no attention to it. 

The next night he had the same dream, exactly in the same way. 
At once, my great-uncle had the horses harnessed to his carriage, 
to go and pay his neighbor a visit. Questioning him, he learned 
that he really had lent one hundred ducats, but had no written 
proof. My great-uncle paid him, and his father appeared to him 
once again, to thank him. 

I should be delighted if this story were of use to you. I can 
guarantee its authenticity, for all the members of my family have 
always considered it indubitable. 

Henri Stechi. 
(Letter 774.) 

"We may object that the son might have heard his father 
speak of the loan of one hundred ducats, might have for- 
gotten the fact, and have remembered the debt in a dream, 
a dream into which his father entered in another form. 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 79 

The lender's generosity and disinterested sentiments might 
have struck him when he heard his father mention the loan. 
But the objection is only a hypothesis. Another hypothesis 
(one which we have no right to disdain) is that the de- 
ceased man, being honest, told his son of the debt and asked 
him to pay it. 

We are making an investigation. Let us consider and dis- 
cuss every case. The objection just made would not be 
applicable to the following account, taken from a valued 
work by Dr. Binns. He published it with the remark that 
it had been completely verified. It concerns a letter written 
on October 21, 1842, by Charles M'Kay, a Catholic priest, 
to the Countess of Shrewsbury. The Earl of Shrewsbury 
had sent the letter to Dr. Binns. Dale Owen, too, had quoted 
it in his book "Footfalls" (page 294). Here is the narra- 
tion, in abridged form: 

In July, 1838, I left Edinburgh for the Perthshire Mission. 
Upon my amval in Perth, I was summoned by a Presbyterian 
woman, Anne Simpson. For more than a week she had been ex- 
tremely anxious to see a priest, because one of her friends, a 
woman named Maloy, had appeared to her for several nights, and 
begged her to ask a priest to pay a small sum of money (three 
shillings and ten pence) which the dead woman owed when she 
died. There was no other source of information. 

I began to investigate, and found that a woman of that name 
had died; that she had been a laundress in a regiment. I ended 
by discovering the gTocer with whom she had had dealings, and 
asked him if a woman named Maloy owed him anything. He con- 
sulted his books and told me that she owed him three shillings 
and ten pence. I paid this sum. The woman came to see me, to 
tell me that the apparitions had ceased.^ 

These cases of the dead who have returned to see to personal 
matters are significant and absolutely undeniable. I shall 

1 Myers, Human Personality, II, 348. 



80 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

add the following one, taken from that work by Bozzano, so 
full of information, ' ' Les Phenomenes de hantise. ' ' He him- 
self took it from Robert Dale Owen's well-known book ''The 
Debatable Land" (page 226). This explanation, by the 
author, precedes it: 

The following case was brought to my attention by the pro- 
tagonist in person, Miss V , in the winter of 1869-70; I ob- 
tained her full consent to the publication of names and dates. 

Nevertheless, when Miss V spoke of the matter to her aged 

aunt, the latter feared the notoriety which it would give to their 

names. Miss V was obliged, in consequence, to withdraw her 

consent. 

Owen continues in these words : 

An unmarried lady whom I know, young and cultivated and be- 
longing to one of the oldest families of New York (I shall call 

her Miss V ), was spending about fifteen days at the home of 

an aunt, who owned a very large and very old house on the banks 
of the Hudson River. This dwelling, like many European Cha- 
teaux, had the reputation of being haunted. This was spoken of 
as little as possible in the family, but a certain room was never 
used save in exceptional cases. At the very time of her stay, 
so many guests arrived that there were no more vacant rooms. The 
aunt asked her niece if she had the courage to move from her own 
room to the haunted room for two or three days, thus running 

the risk of a visit from a ghost. Miss V acquiesced without 

hesitation, adding that ghostly visits did not disturb her much. 

When the appointed night came, Miss V got into bed and 

went to sleep without the least anxiety. She awakened at midnight 
and perceived the form of a grown woman walking up and down 
in the room, wearing a chambermaid's dress that was very clean 
and rather old-fashioned. At first she was not at all frightened, 
thinking it some one of the household who had come in to look 
for something; but; on reflection, she recalled that she had locked 
the door. This thought made her shiver, and her fear increased 
when she saw the form draw near the bed, bend over her, and 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 81 

vainly attempt to speak. Absolutely terrified, Miss V hid her 

face under the covers and when, a moment afterward, she looked 
again, the phantom had vanished. Then she sprang from the bed 
and ran to the door; she found it locked, and the key on the in- 
side. 

Some time afterward, at the home of one of her intimate friends 
who was interested in spiritualism, she took part in the experi- 
ments, through curiosity. On a certain evening an entity mani- 
fested itself, which called itself Sarah Clarke, a name unknown to 
the experimenters. This personality explained that, long before, 

she had been a chambermaid in the home of Miss V 's aunt, 

and that when Miss V had gone to visit her relative, she had 

vainly tried to speak to her, that she might confess that she was 
guilty of having stolen from the aunt, and beg the aunt's forgive- 
ness. She added that the desire to confess her fault was so strong 
in her, that it compelled her to haunt the room in which she had 
lived when alive. She then said that, when living, she had allowed 
herself to take several household articles, among them a silver sugar- 
bowl and other objects which she enumerated. She ended by saying 

that she would be eternally grateful to Miss V if she would 

be so good as to take this message to her aunt and say that she 
felt a deep repentance and implored her forgiveness. 

At the first opportunity. Miss V asked her aunt if, by 

chance, she had known some one named Sarah Clarke. 

"Certainly," she answered. "She was a chambermaid we had 
thirty or forty years ago." 

"What sort of girl was shef 

"She was good, industrious, and faithful." 

"During the time she was with you, did you never miss any 
silver tableware?" 

After a moment's thought the old lady cried: 

"Yes, I remember, now; at that time a silver sugar-bowl disap- 
peared mysteriously, and several things of that sort." 

"Did you never suspect your chambermaid, Sarah Clarke f 

"Never. It's true that she had free access to everything; but 
all of us knew that she was very honest and above suspicion." 

Then Miss V told her aunt of the message sent through the 

medium. They found that the list of the thefts, furnished by thi' 



82 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

so-called spirit of Sarah Clarke, corresponded \vitli the objects ac- 
tually taken from the aunt's home. After this discovery the old 
lady said, merely, "If Sarah Clarke was really guilty, I '11 pardon 
her with all my heart." 

The most remarkable thing about this episode is that from that 
day on tJie manifestations in the haunted room ceased and Sarah 
Clarke no longer appeared to any one. 

I repeat that I can vouch for the truth of these facts, since I 
know personally the two ladies chiefly concerned. 

In this case, apart from the manifest proof of a causal connec- 
tion between the dead woman's fixed idea and the haunting of the 
room — a proof confirmed by the spirit's words to the effect that 
the desire to confess her fault was so intense that it compelled 
her, in spite of herself, to haunt the room in which she had lived 
when alive — apart from this, we must also note a very important 
additional proof. This lies in the fact that the manifestations in 
the haunted room ceased immediately after the spirit gained its 
compelling desire for pardon.^ 

The story, related with so much detail, is instructive from 
more than one point of view, like all the foregoing ones. 

The phenomena similar to this are too numerous not to 
be taken into consideration : apparitions of the dead in 
dreams, demanding that certain services be performed — ask- 
ing people to do errands, we might say. It is often difficult, 
not to say impossible, to attribute the incidents to autosug- 
gestion, to some recollection, to the dreamer's subconscious 
mind. In the little narration which we shall now give, the 
author attributes the manifestation not to the deceased, for 
he does not admit the existence of ghosts, but to a genius, a 
spirit, the existence of which has never been proved, either. 
Here it is. Though it happened in the seventeenth century, 
it is not to be disdained. People often say, ''That 's a very 
old story." But can they really think that Montaigne, Des- 
cartes, or Moliere observed less keenly than we? 

1 Ernest Bozzano, Les Phenomenes de hantise, pp. 154-157, 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 83 

The Abbe de Villars, author of ''Comte de Gabalis" (1670), 
states that the account was given him by the observer herself, 
the wife of Marshal Grancey.^ 

A spirit showed itself to her as she slept, in the guise of her 
late husband. He did not speak long; he said only: "Madame, 
have my clothes-closet searched. There is a letter in my breeches 
pocket which is of the utmost consequence to one of our good 
friends; be careful to burn it." The marshal's wife tried to ask 
questions as to the other life; the phantom disappeared without 
replying. She awakened, greatly troubled, and called her attend- 
ants. They ran to her bed; she told of her dream. She had the 
deceased marshal's body-servant get up; he had remained in the 
house after the death of his master. He obeyed Madame de Gran- 
cey's summons; she asked him if any of the marshal's garments 
were still in his clothes-closet. He answered that there were none; 
that he had sold them for as much as he could obtain. The mar- 
shal's wife ordered him to make a thorough search. He left, and 
came back empty-handed. He was sent again, with no greater 
success. But at last, having gone a third time because of his mis- 
tress's urgent solicitations, he looked so thoroughly that he discov- 
ered, in the darkest corner of the clothes-closet, in the midst of 
a heap of sweepings, an old pair of black taffeta breeches with 
eyelets, such as were worn in former days. He gave these breeches 
to the marshal's wife; she put her hand into one of the pockets, 
from which she drew a letter. She opened it, read it, and, under- 
standing its importance, threw it into the fire, that she might spare 
a friend of the household the grief that might have been caused 
him had its contents been divulged. 

The narrator refuses to admit that the marshal himself 
appeared to his wife, and attributes the phenomenon to a 
spirit, a genius. (This refusal reminds us of our reflections 
on the subject of Lord Brougham and the Marquis of Ram- 
bouillet, page 49). As for me, I am giving the incident as 
it was related to me, and asking my readers to compare it 

1 Le Comte de Gabalis, les genies assistants, II, 87 (edition of 1742). 



84 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

with other, similar ones. Let us investigate without pre- 
judice ; but let us be logical. Is it not more probable, in this, 
as in preceding cases, that the dead man's soul played a 
part, rather than some other spirit? 

Such cases show us that the dead have returned to see to 
intimate personal affairs, to ask that long-neglected debts be 
paid, or to confess to thefts for which they were responsible, 
I have before my eyes many others more or less similar. Let 
us broaden our inquiry to include, also, testimony as to the 
discovery not of debts to be paid but of sums of money, dis- 
closed through posthumous revelations. 

The following manifestation, three days after death, would 
seem to be well authenticated. An account of it was sent me 
from Hyeres, on May 31, 1899. The story was told to the 
narrator by a neighbor, a woman estimable from every point 
of view, ''simple, truthful, and sincere." She said: 

"Three days had passed since we lost our father through sudden 
death. (He had died of congestion of the brain.) Since it was 
customary in our house for my father to pay all expenses, he alone 
had charge of the money. He was in the habit of putting it — 
his ideas were a little odd — in certain places more or less hidden 
from us. 

"After the funeral, when we wished to settle up everything, my 
mother, in order to pay pressing bills, began to look for the sum 
from which household and all other expenses were taken. We were 
certain that my father had hidden it somewhere. It was probable 
that the amount was very small. 

"The whole family — my mother, myself, and two boys — began a 
search. We looked from attic to basement, with no more result 
than if we had not looked at all. My mother was in despair, since 
she had counted on the money to pay household and other expenses 
with. We did not know which way to turn, and were all in the 
deepest misery. 

"In the course of the third night, between eleven and midnight, 
I heard, suddenly, steps descending the stairs which led to the 
hay-loft. These steps halted on the landing before the door of 



PEKSONAL AFFAIRS 85 

my room, and immediately I heard the latch lifted and the door 
creak. And my father's well-known voic3 reached my ears, calling 
three times, 'Baptistine, my child!' As you may well suppose, 
I was more dead than alive. My girl cousin was sleeping with 
me; I pushed her with all the strength I had left, trying to waken 
her. It was useless; she slept on undisturbed. Then I answered 
my father, but in a voice so choked by emotion that only with 
difficulty could I utter the two words ^My father!' 

" 'Listen, my child,' he said. 'Since I left you, you have been 
greatly worried and have suffered most terribly because you can't 
find the money. Well, it 's in an old packing-case that once had 
oranges in it; the box is in the room behind the kitchen. It is di- 
vided into compartments ; there are bags of several kinds of grain on 
one side of it. And on the other side, at the very bottom, under 
some rags, is the money which is causing you so much suffering! 
Good-by, my child.' 

"I need not add that the whole family was at once up and about; 
some minutes afterward we found the hoard. 

"Such is my story. I shall neither retract from it, nor add to 
it." 

HiLAEiON Marquand, Landowner. 

(Letter 710.) Place des Palmiers, 34. 

Follov^ing my usual methods of inquiry, I requested the 
writer of the foregoing to ask for confirmation of the account. 
I received the following reply : 

I am very happy to oblige you. This morning I went to the 
Widow Eugene Ardouin's garden (nee Baptistine Pons) ; she was 
picking strawberries. In a few words I explained to her the rea- 
son for my visit. 

I read her the letter which I had the honor of writing you; I 
asked her if the account contained in it were identical with the 
one she had given as to her father's apparition. She answered, 
"That was it." 

Then I said: "You must do me a kindness. You must send 
Monsieur Flammarion a simple story of the incident, as you re- 
member it now." She began to smile, saying that that was quite 
impossible, since she did not know how to write! I was most dis- 



86 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

tressed. I had her tell me, once more, how it had all happened; 
she did so with pleasure, but with much emotion. "Were you sure 
you were n't asleep f — "Oh, quite sure ; he made a loud noise, com- 
ing down the attic stairs ; you 'd have said he was dragging chains 
with him." — "But how was it that your bedroom — a young girl's 
bedroom, particularly — was closed only with a latch f — "Why, you 
see," she answered, "we weren't in the habit of locking the doors, 
in our home." 

"And the sum of money," I said to her. "How much was there f 
— "Fifteen hundred francs. I still seem to see that old worm- 
eaten box, full of bags of grain on one side, and on the other the 
sum that had worried us so." 

I asked, finally: "Couldn't it have been your intense desire to 
find the money which made you dream of this sum and of your 
father?" — "No, no," she answered. "I was too young, then, to 
think of anything so practical as money. And then, how could my 
wish have made me discover the hiding-place?" 

Such, my dear Master, is the occurrence which happened in this 
place. I may say, without flattery, that we all admire you too 
much to distort, in any way, the information we give you, that 
we may aid you to enlighten humanity. 

Marquand. 

(Letter 719.) 

More than one discovery of the sort has been made in 
dreams. Was this a dream? The narrator declares that she 
was awake, that she heard the sound of footsteps, that the 
door of her room opened, that she heard but did not see her 
father, and that he told her of the hiding-place, known to 
him alone. Nevertheless it seems to me that all this took 
place in a dream. This would not, however, mean that there 
was no intervention on the part of the father. 

The foregoing was a case of a voice heard subjectively, — 
but really heard, — a phenomenon caused by the deceased. 

Because of my wish to consider only that which is indubi- 
table, I related (Volume II, page 259) a curious incident 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 87 

concerning a ring stolen from a dying man's finger, but 
classified the phenomenon among those attributable rather to 
the living than to the dead. A letter from General Berthaut 
(dated July 22, 1921) requested me to refer to it again, in 
this third volume. He wrote : 

We have here a clearly defined apparition, in a dream. It took 
place after death, since it was confinned by the subsequent avowal. 
Occurrences of this nature are of immense value to those who wish 
to prove sur^dval after death, because they are^ unfortunately, 
least numerous. 

(Letter 4583.) 

I accede to the request with pleasure, and shall ask, simply, 
that pages 255 to 259 of Volume II be read once more, with 
care. 

It would, indeed, seem virtually certain that the brother 
manifested himself to his sister, in a dream, about two months 
after his death. 

General Berthaut had already sent me, in September, 
1920, the following account. It was taken from G. Chardel's 
''Essai de psychologic physiologique. " The author was a 
councilor of the Court of Cassation, and a former deputy 
from the Department of the Seine (Paris, 1841). 

During the disturbances in Brittany there died in the village of 
la Garenne, near La Chese, a weaver named Jean Goujon. He 
was a widower without children, and his thatched cottage was left 
empty and abandoned. It was harvest-time. A girl of nineteen, 
returning from the fields, was going to the farm next the cottage, 
when she drew back, screaming. She said she saw Jean Goujon, 
lying across the threshold of his door, looking at her. He asked 
that masses be said for him, and pointed out money which he 
had put, for this purpose, in the chimney-corner, behind a stone 
The money was found, and the masses said. 

(Letter 4270.) 



88 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

It would be interesting to know how the request was made. 
Did she hear an inner voice ? We are to-day rather exacting 
in our demands for precise information, all the more so 
because the manifestations take every form. In any case, 
the above incident belongs in the present chapter. 

Let us read the following letter from a certain Mrs. P 

(who did not wish her name revealed) to Mr. Myers.^ It is 
an account of a father who appeared to his son at a moment 
of great perplexity. 

Married in 1867, my life was calm and happy until the end of 
the year 1869, when my husband's health failed and he became 
irritable. He answered all my questions evasively. On Christmas 
Eve, about half-past nine, he had gone to bed. He had left the 
lamp lighted because I was lingering for a moment near my little 
girl's cradle. Suddenly, to my great amazement, I saw a man in 
the uniform of a naval officer, with a pointed hat on his head. 
His face was in the shadow; it was all the more in obscurity from 
the fact that he was leaning on his elbow upon the head-board 
of the bed, supporting his head with his hand. I asked myself 
who this man could be. My husband had his back turned to me; I 
touched him on the shoulder and murmured, "Willie, who is that 
man?" He turned, gazed at the intruder, stupefied, then sat up 
suddenly and cried out, "What are you doing here?" 

The form straightened slowly, then, in an imperious, unhappy 
voice said, "Willie! Willie!" I looked at my husband. He had 
grown livid and was greatly agitated; he rose from the bed as 
though to attack the stranger, but stood still at once, either in 
perplexity or fright. The form, impassive and solemn, crossed the 
room, moving at right angles to the wall. When it passed before 
the lamp, a shadow fell upon the wall and upon ourselves, as 
though it had been a real person. In spite of this, the phantom 
vanished mysteriously through the wall. My husband, still agi- 
tated, took the lamp, saying, "I 'm going through the house and 
see where he went." I, too, was terribly agitated; however, re- 

1 Proceedings of the S. P. B., VI, 26. Annales des Sciences psy- 
cUques, 1909, p. 325. 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 89 

membering that the door was locked and that the mysterious visitor 
had not gone in that direction, I said, "But he didn't go out by 
the door!" Nevertheless my husband drew back the bolts, opened 
the door, and went out to search the house. Alone in the darkness, 
I thought: "WeVe seen an apparition. What can it portend? 
Perhaps my brother Arthur is ill. [He was a naval officer and 
was on a voyage to India.] I Ve always heard it said that these 
things happen." Such were my thoughts as I trembled with fear, 
pressing my little girl against me; she had awakened. Then I saw 
my husband coming back, more livid and more agitated than ever. 
He sat down on the edge of the bed, put his arm around me, and 
murmured, "Do you know whom we saw?" — "Yes," I answered, 
"a spirit ; I 'm afraid it has something to do with Arthur, but I 
could not see the face." He answered, "It was my father!" 

My husband's father had been dead for fourteen years; he had 
been a naval officer in his youth, then, on account of his health, 
he had been obliged to leave the service before my husband was 
born, and the latter had seen him in uniform only once or twice. 
As for me, I had not known him. 

The next day, we told our uncle and aunt of the incident, and 
we could all see that my husband's agitation was not lessening. 

As the days went by, my husband lost strength and was obliged 
to take to his bed, seriously ill. It was only then that, little by 
little, he confided his secret to me. For some time he had been in 
serious financial difficulties, and at the time when his father ap- 
peared to him he was about to heed the fatal advice of a man 
who would have led him to ruin, or perhaps to something worse. 
I cannot help seeing in this a providential warning given my hus- 
band by means of the voice and the features of the man he had 
most revered in his life, and the only man whom he would have 
obeyed. 

The narrator's husband answered as follows the inquiries 
sent him: "I shall add nothing to my wife's story; it is 
rigorously exact, and the occurrence took place just as she 
described." 

We have here the apparition of a phantom who showed 



90 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

himself to be familiar with his son's affairs, thus proving 
himself to know things that had happened after his death, 
but which were in his son's mind. But the phantom was 
first seen by the very percipient who was ignorant of the 
facts in question. 

Monsieur Bozzano observes that the hypothesis of telepathy 
must not be wholly ruled out in explaining this case, though 
the hypothesis becomes, here, too complex, too tangled, to 
be readily accepted. We should have to suppose that the 
percipient's husband, on the point of venturing into an un- 
dertaking which would have jeopardized his honor, thought 
instinctively of his father's revered memory. This brought 
about a corresponding telepathic hallucination on the part 
of his wife, who in turn, calling her husband's attention to 
her own thought, made objective, transmitted it to him. 
Thus the husband, seized with remorse at the sight of his 
father's phantom, must, by this supposition, have been the 
dupe of a supplementary verhal auto-hallucination, through 
which the phantom rebuked him in an imperious, unhappy 
tone — an auto-hallucination which the husband re-transmitted 
to his wife. 

It is all very complicated ! Is it not simpler to admit that 
there was intervention on the part of the deceased father, 
though such a thing be incomprehensible? Here, too, there 
was a financial question, and, above all, a son in a desperate 
position. This phantom was, apparently, real; it cast a 
shadow, and vanished through the wall (the fourth dimen- 
sion). 

We might compare this experience with more than one 
similar manifestation. A man on the point of being ship- 
wrecked, with his vessel, was saved from peril by a protector 
long dead. Aksakof has told us how the vessel Harry Booth, 
commanded by Captain Drisko, who told the story, was saved 
from shipwreck while on a voyage between New York and 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 91 

Dry Tortugas, in 1865. Here are the essential passages of 
his statement ^ : 

Seeing that everything on the bridge was as it should be, I 
turned the command over to my first mate, an absolutely trust- 
worthy officer, and went down to my cabin for a little rest. 

At ten minutes to eleven I heard, distinctly, a voice saying to 
me, "Go up on the bridge and give orders to cast anchor." — "Who 
are you?" I demanded, running up on the bridge. I was surprised 
to receive an order. Up above, I found everything as it should 
have been. Nobody had seen any one at all go down into my 
cabin. 

Supposing that I had been the dupe of an auditory illusion, I 
went down again. At ten minutes to twelve I saw a man clad in 
a long gray overcoat enter my cabin; he had a broad-brimmed hat 
on his head. Gazing at me fixedly, he ordered me to go up and 
have the anchor cast. Thereupon he went away calmly, and I heard 
distinctly his heavy steps as he passed in front of me. I went up 
to the bridge once more, and saw nothing out of the ordinary. 
Everything was all right. Since I was absolutely sure of my 
course, I had no reason for heeding a warning, no matter from 
what quarter. So I went back to my room, but no longer slept; 
I did not undress and was ready to go up, if there were need. 

At ten minutes to one, the same man entered and ordered me, 
in still more authoritative tones, to go up on the bridge and give 
orders to cast anchor. I then recognized in the intruder my old 
friend Captain John Burton, with whom I had gone on voyages 
as a boy, and who had been extremely kind to me. With one 
bound I reached the bridge and ordered the sails lowered and 
the anchor cast. The sea, where we were, was fifty fathoms deep. 
It was in this way that the vessel escaped running on the rocks 
of Bahama.2 

First, an auditory illusion ; so much could be granted. In 
the second place, an optical illusion; this is going a little 

1 Animisme et spiritisme, p. 426. 

2 The details may be read in Light (1882), p. 303. 



92 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

farther. But was this definite apparition imaginary? Events 
proved the contrary. 

It is difficult to challenge the fact that we are here con- 
cerned with a manifestation on the part of some one dead. 
Surely, my readers have not forgotten the typical episode, 
similar to the foregoing one, of the phantom which gave 
this command : * ' Steer to the northwest. ' ' (" Uranie, ' ' page 
214.) 

Aksakof has told, elsewhere, how an important will was 
found through information furnished by the deceased person 
himself. On July 5, 1867, Prince Wittgenstens related the 
incident in the letter given below ^ : 

A friend of mine, Lieutenant-General Baron de Korff, who has 
been dead for some months, manifested himself to me through 
a medium (without my thinking of him in the least). He ordered 
me to point out to his family the place where, through malevolence, 
his will had been hidden. It had been concealed in a certain cup- 
board of the house in which he died. I did not even know that 
the heirs were looking, without success, for the will in question. 
It was found at the exact spot designated by the spirit of the de- 
ceased. It was a document of the greatest importance for the 
management of the family estate, as well as for the solution of 
questions which would arise upon the sons' coming of age. Here 
is an occurrence that defies all skepticism. 

In giving this remarkable instance of a communication 
from beyond the grave — supported by vouchers — Aksakof re- 
minds us of the case of Dr. Davey's son, who revealed to 
his father that there were seventy pounds sterling in his 
pocket-book instead of the twenty -two declared to have been 
there. Aksakof reminds us, too, of the phenomenon con- 
nected with the carrying out of a will, made public by the 
London Dialectic Society. Under the heading '* Identity of a 

1 Animisme et spiritisme, p. 566. 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 93 

dead man's personality established by the communication of 
facts which could have been known only to the deceased him- 
self, and which only he could have communicated, ' ' he gives a 
certain number of typical occurrences, among them the fol- 
lowing : 

Mrs. G , the wife of a United States army captain in 

command of regular troops, was living with her husband, in 
1861, in the city of Cincinnati. In December, 1863, her hus- 
band's brother ''Jock," as he was called familiarly, died 
suddenly. In March, 1864, when Mrs. G , out of curios- 
ity, was making spiritistic experiments, she found that she 
was a medium. Jock's name was given her by rappings. 

Mrs. G asked him if he wished anything. By way of 

reply he gave her a list of debts to be paid; the details of 
these took up two large-sized pages of the last-mentioned 
work. This same chapter contains several other proofs of 
identity. But we already have too much testimony to war- 
rant our giving more. 

The famous hypnotist Deleuze who was, as is well known, 
librarian of the Paris Museum of Natural History (my read- 
ers are, surely, familiar with his principal works), related 
the following as an instance of the apparition of some one 
dead ^ : 

A young woman who was a somnambulist and who had lost her 
father, saw him twice very distinctly. He appeared in a dream 
and gave her important advice. After praising her conduct, he 
told her that an opportunity for getting married would present 
itself; that this marriage would seem right and proper, and that 
she would like the young man, but that she would not be happy 
with him. Her father advised her to refuse him. He added that 
if she did not avail herself of this opportunity, another would oc- 
cur soon afterward, and that all would be concluded before the 
end of the year. It was then the month of October. 

1 See Charpignon: Physiologic, medecine et metaphysique du Mag- 
netisme (Orleans, 1841), p. 317. 



94 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

The first young man was proposed, as a suitor, to the mother, 
but the daughter, struck by what her father had told her, refused 
him. 

A second suitor, who came from the country, was introduced to 
the mother by friends. He asked for the young lady's hand, and 
the marriage took place on December 30th. 

The foregoing was a premonitory dream; I have given a 
great many examples of dreams of the same sort. Usually 
they originate in the mind of the dreamer himself. But was 
that true in this case ? Is it not plain that the father inter- 
vened ? 

I shall give still another case. A dead man who had just 
been buried appeared and made a personal revelation having 
to do with his son and daughter. The case was investigated 
with special care by Hodgson, and made public by Myers in 
Volume VIII (page 200) of the "Proceedings of the Society 
for Psychical Research," in ''Human Personality," Volume 
II, page 36, and by Bozzano in the ''Annales des Sciences 
psychiques" of April, 1910. The following is an abridged 
account of it. We are now in the United States. 

On February 2d, a certain Michael Coulay, a farmer living in 
the environs of Ionia, was found dead in the livery-stable of the 
Jefferson Inn. After the customary inquest, held by Mr. Hoff- 
mann, an examining magistrate, the corpse was placed in the coffin, 
ready for burial. The old, soiled clothes which the farmer had 
worn were thrown into the yard. 

When the deceased man's daughter learned of her father's death 
she fainted away, then came to and cried: "Where are our 
father's clothes? He appeared to me in a white shirt, a black 
vest, and satin slippers; he had sewed a packet of hank-notes into 
hh gray shirt, and in doing that he'd used a piece of red 
cloth cut from one of my old dresses. He warned me that 
the money is still where he put it,'' Then she fainted once more. 

The members of the family thought this only an hallueinatiou. 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 95 

Nevertheless the doctor advised them to send for the garments, in 
order to calm the ill girl. The son telephoned to Hoffmann, the 
judge, who found them in the yard. His sister had exactly de- 
scribed the costume in which the dead man had been clothed, in- 
cluding the slippers, although she had not seen her father after 
his death, and although those related to him had seen his face 
only, through the lid of the coffin. The gray shirt was found, and 
in the inside of the part over the chest was found a packet of 
bank-notes (thirty-five dollars) sewed up in a piece of red cloth, 
like that of which one of his daughter's dresses was made. The 
stitches were long and irregular, as though made by an untrained 
hand. 

The Rev. Amos Crum, a pastor in Dubuque, sent an attestation 
as to these incidents, with supplementary details; they were fur- 
ther confirmed by Judge Hoffmann, by the Rev. R. A. Green, 
Messrs. Ham and Carver, owners of a newspaper, "The Herald," 
Mr. H. L. Sill, a writer for this same newspaper, and Mrs. George 
Brown, a farmer's wife. All these lived in the same town with 
the Coulay family. 

This account led to an immediate, careful investigation; 
it revealed the fact that the deceased communicated tv^o es- 
sential bits of information, one of which (concerning the 
garment in which he had been clothed) was known only to 
persons whom the seer had never met; the other (the exist- 
ence of the inner pocket and the sewed-up money) was known 
only to the dead man himself. 

The apparition of the father and the daughter's clair- 
voyance are two phenomena equally remarkable. 

Testimony as to identity is rare and precious; to reject it 
through prejudice is not honest. Some testimony emanates 
from particularly estimable quarters. The following account, 
it seems to me, is worthy of the highest consideration. Mon- 
sieur de la Rouliere, residing at the Chateau des Loges (Saint- 
Christophe-sur-Roc, in the Department of Deux-Sevres) wrote 
me on July 16, 1920: 



96 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

I had the misfortune, last year, to lose my daughter, who was 
twenty-four. She was very good; she died like a saint. I also 
had a son, who was killed at Douaumont. He was charming, very 

splendid. It happened that my cousin, Madame de G , said to 

me one day: "Don't grieve so about your children's death. They 
are very happy. Their souls are in brightness; they know perfect 
happiness. Your dear daughter spoke to me the other day. She 
said to me: ^My poor little papa is crying on my account; tell 
him I'm very happy. He tried to keep a promise he made me, 
but he didn't keep it.' — 'What? Why, what is this promise?' — 
'Speak to my little papa about it ; he '11 know what I mean.' " 

I was greatly agitated by my cousin's words. It was true that 
on the day before my daughter's death I was telling my beads 
with her and she said to me, '^My little papu, promise me you'll 
tell ten beads for me every day." 

After a month I stopped doing this. No one in the world knew 
of this promise. How could my cousin have known of it? It 
follows that my daughter told her of it. 

I answered my cousin: "That's true; but I've lost the rosary 
that my daughter gave me." 

"Come to my home this evening; I'll give you another one." 

My cousin took out a box in which there were twenty or twenty- 
five rosaries which she was planning to give to children in the 
nuns' charge; she offered me one of them, a silvered one. 

"Ah," she said to me, "your daughter does not wish me to give 
you this rosary, for my hand encountered resistance." 

My cousin gave me another rosary, a black one. 

"Why," I said, "that 's odd ; this black rosary is exactly like the 
one my daughter gave me." 

It was true. I had found the rosary again. 

Explain that, Monsieur Flammarion. 

There is a further problem. My son was killed on March 4, 
1916, near Douaumont. My cousin said to me one day: "My 
poor cousin, you think that Jean is a prisoner. Well, he is not. 
He was killed by a bullet that pierced his heart. His last words 
were addressed to his dear wife : Ah, Renee ! My poor wife !' *' 

Two months afterward my son's orderly (a prisoner in Germany) 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 97 

wrote me: "Your son, my brave Lieutenant, fell ten paces from 
me. He said as he fell : 'Ah, Renee ! My poor wife !' " 

How could my cousin have known his last words, which were 
sent me by letter three months after his death*? 

From that day on, without being what is called a spiritualist, 
I have believed in spiritualism. 

De la Rouliere. 

(Letter 4200.) 

' I agree with my esteemed correspondent, and with his rela- 
tive the Marchioness of G (who did me the honor of 

coming in person to tell me of her experiments), that the 
manifestation on the part of this pious young deceased woman 
is worthy of attention. It would seem as though she herself 
came to remind her father of his promise. And as he was 
not with the cousin, he had to be informed. But can Mon- 
sieur de la Rouliere be absolutely certain that he never spoke 
to his cousin of his conversation at his dear child's death- 
bed ? Then, too, could there not have been a telepathic trans- 
mission from the brain of one to the brain of the other? 
Would it not seem that there is, about the case, something 
very human? One can see how careful we must be in inves- 
tigations of this sort, in order to draw indubitable conclu- 
sions. 

The episode of his son, who fell on the field of battle, is 
equally deserving of an adequate explanation. The entire 
structure of psychic science is still to be built up. 

The following manifestation is that of some one dead pro- 
testing against an unjust accusation. An account of it was 
sent me from Curityba, Brazil, on May 21, 1921, in this letter : 

Dear Master: 

Must not all thinking men aid you in your work, no matter in 
what latitude they live? 

I consider it a duty to tell you of the incident given below. It 



98 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

happened some months ago in Rio de Janeiro, and was much talked 
of. 

It concerns the death of a police officer who had, in his keeping, 
certain army accoutrements. After his death it was found that 
these had vanished. This led to a meeting of superior officers, to 
decide on the liability of his widow. 

While this meeting was at its height, and was not proving fa- 
vorable to the deceased man, suddenly an extraordinarily violent 
blow was struck upon the table — so violent that the ink-stands rolled 
to the floor. 

It was discovered afterward that the dead man was in no way 
responsible for the disappearance of the accoutrements. 

Gaston Cord'homme. 

(Letter 4511.) 

One of our colleagues, Monsieur Leon d'Binbrodt, sent me, 
in reference to this phenomenon, the f ollov^^ing comment : 

It would be helpful to know if the widow of the incriminated 
officer were present at the inquiry, if she were there at the mo- 
ment of this violent blow, because, if she were, we might believe 
that the blow was produced by this lady's subconscious mind — 
an explosion of reserve psychic force. In ease she were not present, 
it would be easier to attribute the blow to the intervention of her 
deceased husband. 

I recall that in his book "Vies des Dames galantes" ["Lives of 
the Courtesans"] Brantome tells a story which would seem to prove 
the possibility of defending oneself psychically. A young woman, 
seeing her jealous husband rushing upon her, sword in hand, had 
only time to call upon the Virgin, and instantly the husband was 
sent rolling over the ground ; but instead of getting up more furious 
than ever, which would have been natural, this man grew, suddenly, 
as mild as a dove. He was content merely to ask his wife what 
could have saved her. 

Every one may read the story in the book by Brantome 
(Dissertation I) . Doubtless, we should not have gone in search 
of it there, except for my painstaking correspondent's erudi- 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 99 

tion. . . . There was here a typical and definite mental phe- 
nomenon which comes within the scope of our investigation. 

By sending letters of inquiry to Brazil, regarding the police 
officer's case, I received confirmation of the exactitude of the 
above account. But I was not able to learn if the widow 
were present. We may ask how her ''subconscious mind" 
could have struck a resounding blow. We are concerned 
here with invisible forces. A manifestation on the part of 
the accused man would seem the most probable explanation. 

What shall we think of the following? 

On the very day of her death, a young woman who had died in 
bringing a baby into the world, appeared to one of her friends (a 
woman) and said to her, "I am dead, but the baby will live." 
Some days previous to this, she had said that she was frightened 
on account of her condition and feared she was going to die. It 
was in the month of June, 1879. The narrator was Mrs. Smith, 
head of the children's boarding-school in Amble, Northumberland 
(England). The apparition went around her bed, moved toward 
the door, which was hidden by hangings, and vanished. Much 
affected by this vision, Mrs. Smith rose to make an investigation, 
ran toward the door without finding any one, then called her sister, 
who was in bed in a room near by; the latter took care to make 
note of the occurrence in her memorandum-book. Professor Sidg- 
wick and his wife made a careful inquiry and published a report 
of it. The narrator was then twenty-nine years old and in perfect 
health. Children were taken into her school and brought up with 
especial care.^ 

We have already noted, in Volume II (page 314) an 
odd case similar to the one above. A young mother died in 
Bruges. In a vision, her new-born baby was presented, to- 
gether with its elder brother, to their mother's sister-in-law 
in England, Miss Lucy Dodson. In this instance Miss Dod- 
son's own mother held the children out in her arms; she 

1 See Myers, Human Personality, II, 33 and 342. 



100 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

had been dead for sixteen years. But we took care to state 
that the apparition could not with certainty be said to come 
within the scope of this third volume. There may have been 
here only thought-transmission on the part of the dying 
woman, together with an association of ideas (thought as a 
generator of images). The phantom of the mother holding 
the two children in her arms would seem to us, then, a tele- 
pathic manifestation proceeding from the mind of the woman 
in childbed. This fits in with what we said above, as to the 
visioning of phantoms (page 51). 

As we see, such cases are always those of the dead, mani- 
festing themselves because of personal affairs. It is instruc- 
tive to bring them together and to compare them. 

There are sometimes, among these posthumous manifesta- 
tions, examples of revenge taken — dramas, tragedies. Space 
is lacking in which to give all of them. I should not Like, 
however, to neglect to place before the eyes of my careful 
readers the following manifestation on the part of a man 
who had been assassinated. He appeared to revenge him- 
self upon his murderer. Monsieur Bozzano himself witnessed 
it, at a spiritistic seance in which he took part. The 
account of it was published very recently, for in order to 
make it public it was necessary to await the death of the 
hero. Monsieur Bozzano writes^: 

To-day I can speak of it in the general mterest of metaphysical 
research, omitting, however, the name of the person chiefly con- 
cerned. 

Seance held on April 5, 1904. — The following were present: Dr. 
Giuseppe Venzano, Ernesto Bozzano, the Cavaliere Carlo Peretti, 

Signore X , Signora Guidetta Peretti, and the medium L. P. 

The seance was begun at ten o'clock in the evening. 

From the beginning we noted that the medium was troubled, for 
some unknown reason. The spirit-guide Luigi, the medium's father, 

'^ Luce e Omhra (Eome, 1920). Bevue spirite, 1921, p. 214, 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 101 

did not manifest himself, and L. P. gazed with terror toward the 
left corner of the room. Shortly afterward he freed himself from 
his ''spirit-controls/' rose to his feet, and began a singularly real- 
istic and impressive struggle against some invisible enemy. Soon he 
uttered cries of terror, drew back, threw himself to the floor, gazed 
toward the corner as though terrified, then fled to the other corner 
of the room, shouting: "Back! Go away. No, I don't want to. 
Help me! Save me!" Not knowing what to do, the witnesses of 
this scene concentrated their thoughts with intensity upon Luigi, the 
spirit-guide, and called upon him to aid. The expedient proved 
effective, for little by little the medium grew calmer, gazed with 
less anxiety toward the corner of the apartment; then his eyes took 
on the expression of some one who looks at a distant spectacle, then 
a spectacle still more distant. At last he gave vent to a long sigh 
of relief and murmured : "He 's gone ! What a bestial face !" 

Soon afterward, the spirit-guide Luigi manifested himself. Ex- 
pressing himself through the medium, he told us that in the room 
in which the seance was being held there was a spirit of the basest 
nature, against which it was impossible for him to struggle; that 
the intruder bore an implacable hatred for one of the persons of the 
group. Then the medium exclaimed in a frightened voice : "There 
he is again! I can't defend you any longer. Stop the — " 

It is certain that Luigi wished to say, "Stop the seance," but it 
was already too late. The evil spirit had taken possession of our 
medium. He shouted; his eyes shot glances of fury; his hands, 
lifted as though to seize something, moved like the claws of a wild 

beast, eager to clutch his prey. And the prey was Signore X , 

at whom the medium's furious looks were east. A rattling and a 
sort of concentrated roaring issued from our medium's foam-covered 
lips, and suddenly these words burst from him : "I 've found you 
again at last, you coward! I was a Royal Marine. Don't you re- 
member the quarrel in Oporto *? You killed me there. But to-day 
I '11 have my revenge, and strangle you." 

These distracted words were uttered as the hands of the medium, 
L. P., seized the victim's throat, and tightened on it like steel 

pincers. It was a fearful sight. The whole of Signore X 's 

tongue hung from his wide-open mouth; his eyes bulged. We had 



102 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

gone to the unfortunate man's assistance. Uniting our efforts with 
all the energy which this desperate situation lent us, we succeeded, 
after a terrible hand-to-hand struggle, in freeing him from the des- 
perate grip. At once we pulled him away, and thrust him outside, 
locking the door. We barred the medium's access to the door; ex- 
asperated, he tried to break through this barrier and run after his 
enemy. He roared like a tiger. It took all four of us to hold him. 
At last, he suffered a total collapse and sank down upon the floor. 

On the following day we prepared to clear up this affair — to seek 
information which might enable us to confirm what '^the Oporto 
spirit" had said. We were, in fact, already quite certain of the 

truth of the accusation, for it was noteworthy that Signore X 

had not protested in the least when the serious charge of homicide 
had been hurled at him. 

The words uttered by the furious spirit served me as a means for 
arriving at the truth. He had said, "I was a Royal Marine." And 

I knew vaguely that Signore X had, himself, in his youth, been 

an officer of marines; that he had witnessed the Battle of Lissa, 
and that after resigning his commission he had devoted himself to 
commercial enterprises. With these facts as a basis, I proceeded 
to ask a retired vice-admiral for other details; he, too, had fought 
at Lissa. As for Dr. Yenzano, he questioned a relative of Signore 
X , with whom the latter had broken off all relations years be- 
fore. Between us we gathered separate bits of information which 
tallied amazingly, and which, brought together, led us to these con- 
clusions : 

Signore X had, indeed, served with the Royal Marines. One 

day, being upon a battle-ship on a training cruise, he had landed 
for some hours at Oporto, Portugal. During his stay, while he was 
walking in the city, he heard a noise of drunken, furious voices 
coming from an inn. He perceived that the language was Italian, 
and, realizing that it was a quarrel between men of his vessel, he 
went into the room, recognized his men, and commanded them to 
return to their ship. One of the drinkers, more intoxicated than 
the others, answered him back and even went so far as to threaten 
his superior officer. Angered by his attitude, the officer drew his 
sword and plunged it into the insolent fellow's breast; the latter 
died soon afterward. As a result of this adventure, the officer was 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 103 

court-martialed, was sentenced to six months^ imprisonment, and, on 
the expiration of Ms term, was asked to resign his commission. 

Those are the facts; it follows from them that the disturbing 
spirit had not lied. He had exactly stated his rank as a Royal 

Italian Marine. He had remembered that Signore X had killed 

him. He had, moreover, — and this was a particularly remarkable 
statement, — indicated the place where he had died, the setting for 
the drama, Oporto. 

A painstaking inquiry confirmed the authenticity of all this. By 
what hypothesis could one explain occurrences so strikingly in agree- 
ment — those which were revealed to us at the seance of April 5, 
1904, and those which had taken place in Portugal many years 
before? 

Ernesto Bozzano. 

That was, beyond a doubt, a dramatic manifestation. I 
have no criticism to offer, unless v^e suppose that the officer's 
remorse created a phantom in the medium's mind! This is 
scarcely probable. We know of threats to Dr. Gibier still 
more savage than this, perhaps. The carrying out of these 
threats was actually begun.^ 

It is time for us to call a halt in our special investigation 
of ^ ' the dead who have returned to attend to personal affairs. ' ' 
Like all our chapters, this one might well contain three 
or four times as many accounts of conclusive occurrences. 
Those we have just read amply suffice to prove that dead 
persons have manifested themselves for personal reasons, just 
as the dead of the preceding chapter returned to carry out 
promises they had made. It seems to us that the petty affairs 
of earthly life should no longer disturb those who are gone, 
and that they should enjoy everlasting rest (Requiem ceternam 
dona &i& Domine). Yes, so it would seem; but this is not so. 
They are still living. The possibility of communication with 
the dead is shown to be as unquestionable as that of telepathic 
communication from one living person to another. Among 

1 See Analyse des choses (Paris and Philadelphia, 1890), p. 196. 



104 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

the cases omitted from this chapter, for lack of space, I must 
mention (it may be read in the book on "Maisons hantees" 
"Haunted Houses") that of Monsieur Sainte-Foix, father of 
the translator of ''La Mystique," by Gorres. He was tor- 
mented by the spirit of one of his parents, until he had 
assumed the guardianship of his children. These manifesta- 
tions are unquestionable, and doubt is no longer possible. 

The various occurrences given here show us dead persons 
who returned for personal reasons. In interpreting them, 
the only objection which presents itself is the unknown part 
that the living may have had, without their knowledge, in 
the odd manifestations. These first three chapters state the 
problem clearly, and in most of the cases we have eliminated 
this objection. 

While admitting, naturally, that we do not at present know 
the whole range of a living man's faculties, can we logically 
attribute to these faculties all phenomena the nature of which 
we do not know? Shall we suppose that we are making a 
perpetually false interpretation of that which seems real? 
Let us recapitulate. The unknown being which returned to 
strike upon the gas-fixture, as Sirchia had formally announced 
he would do (page 11) would seem really to have been the 
deceased Sirchia; the phantom seen and recognized by Mon- 
sieur and Madame Ballet-Gallifet was actually identified 
(page 16) ; the worthy woman from the cafe in Nantes 
actually came to state that she had been dead for two days 
(page 22) ; Robert Mackenzie, said to have committed sui- 
cide, actually appeared to clear himself of the false accusa- 
tion (page 27) ; the scratch upon the body of the young 
American woman was quite real (page 32) ; Monsieur Bos- 
san's wife, Augustine Chabert, who died in Grenoble, actually 
manifested herself in Nancy (page 38) ; Lord Brougham's 
friend kept his promise to show himself (page 47) ; the old 
lady in the shawl was actually seen and recognized (page 
53) ; Canon Bouin's deceased colleague actually pushed him 



PERSONAL AFFAIRS 105 

on the shoulder (page 55) ; Adams's skeleton actually caused 
an uproar (page 61) ; Russell the singer really showed him- 
self (page 64) ; Pavie, Bishop of Algiers, really paid a 
debt revealed by some one dead (page 76) ; Sarah Clarke 
really returned to accuse hers.elf of theft (page 81) ; a father 
who had been dead for fourteen years actually showed him- 
self to his son and his son's wife (page 88) ; Captain Drisko 
really avoided shipwreck through a command which came 
from somewhere outside himself (page 91) ; Mrs. Smith's 
friend, who died in giving birth to a child, really provided 
for her children's future (page 99) ; and as for our last 
case, the marine's revenge (page 102), it was equally spon- 
taneous, and as unexpected as it was disagreeable. The hy- 
pothesis that the living — those present, those making the ex- 
periments — are responsible for such manifestations would 
seem, in most of the cases, not only unlikely but inadmissible. 
As we have already said, an incomprehensible fact is 
still a fact, but an incomprehensible explanation is no 
explanation. 

"We see that the investigation begun with the purpose of 
studying these problems has led to interesting results. I am 
happy to have instituted this investigation, despite the banter, 
the sarcasm, and even the insults of a large number of igno- 
rant persons. 

What are all of us seeking ? The truth. "We wish to know. 
What is life ? What is death ? 

I paid a visit one day to Westminster Abbey, in London, 
the burial-place of great men. I read there, on the monu- 
ment erected to John Gay, the following inscription — odd, 
for a tomb : 

Life is a jest; and all things show it. 
I thought so once; but now I know it. 

Whether life be a jest, a bit of sportive humor, whether it 
be buffoonery, irony, mystification, comedy or drama, farce 



106 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

or tragedy — if those on the other side of death's door know, 
like John Gay, let us continue to question them. 

"We shall now consider a rather large number of diverse 
happenings, and, the better to analyze them, we shall classify 
them according to how long after death they occurred. We 
shall begin with those just after death — a continuation of 
Volume II. But before proceeding farther, let us not forget 
that by reason of what has been proved we shall know from 
this time on that dead persons manifest themselves, that their 
acts prove they see us and hear us. We say dead persons, 
and not the dead, for there is nothing to prove that it is the 
same with all. The life beyond the grave is more complex 
than one might think; all souls are not alike, and do not 
proceed along the same path. Let us continue our inquiry; 
let us adhere to the same rigorous, scientific method which 
has led us to the results already obtained. 



IV 



MANIFESTATIONS AND APPARITIONS FROM A FEW MINUTES TO 
AN HOUR AFTER DEATH 

Except for facts, all is but a matter 
of opinion. For Man there are no posi- 
tive truths save those facts which he can 
learn through observation. 

Lamarck. 

AS we have just said, we shall cite in chronological order 
all cases to be investigated. There is a necessity for 
our method. The subject is a serious one. We must 
discover reality; the three preceding chapters have already 
furnished us with remarkable revelations as to this reality. 
The subject concerns each one of us, and that which awaits 
each one of us, to-morrow or later, at an inevitable hour. 
The earth will not have turned a hundred times around the 
sun before you and I, dear readers, shall have entered upon 
a future life. 

No one can have seen, in Venice, Canova's splendid and 
sublime tomb — so penetrating in its symbolism is the setting 
forth of the human soul into the unknown — without feeling 
deeply moved before this door partially opened upon an 
eternal night. Who has not experienced the same emotion 
before Bartholome's magnificent monument to the Dead, in 
the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery, which symbolizes with equal elo- 
quence the disturbing mystery of death? 

All those who think have felt the importance of the subject, 
and every one feels that the problem, not yet solved, can 
from this time on be approached only by the positive method 
which we have adopted ; by ascertaining facts and discussing 

107 



108 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

them. The new psychic science has need of the same reason- 
ing which the natural sciences needed at the time of the 
reform proposed by Lamarck. That profound naturalist 
wrote in 1809, in his ''Philosophic zoologique," which trans- 
formed the whole of natural history, from mollusks to Man : 
''Except for facts, all is but a matter of opinion. For Man, 
there are no positive truths save those facts which he can 
learn through observation. ' ' ^ That is the principle I have 
adhered to in these pages, from the very first line of our 
first volume. 

The scientific and philosophic importance of this is not 
understood by every one. How many times have people not 
tried to divert me from my research, thinking it could lead 
to nothing? Well, have not the three preceding chapters 
sufficed to induce us to continue our investigation? 

It is only through comparative research that we may arrive 
at a solution of the problem. The subject thrusts itself upon 
us. What question-mark has ever been more challenging 
than this one ? 

But the letters which I receive from deniers and those who 
contradict astonish me. They come from two groups that are 
poles apart: ecclesiastical spiritualists and radical materi- 
alists : 

Here are two examples of such letters: 

Barcelona, July 15, 1900. 
Dear and illustrious Master : 

Those about me speak of you in these terms, and in Spain un- 
believers venerate you as a god. The triumphal journey you have 
just made there because of an eclipse of the sun is a proof of this. 

But you are not a master but, rather, a slave of the devil. 

It is incredible that so famous a savant should lose time, which 
might be put to better uses, in seeking what was revealed to us 
nearly two thousand years ago. 

^ PMlosopMe zoologique (Charles Martins Edition, 1873), I, 16-17. 



WITHIN AN HOUR AFTER DEATH 109 

No one can have any doubt as to our destiny after death. One 
must be totally ignorant (allow me to tell you this) not to know that 
the good go to heaven, the wicked to hell, and those neither one nor 
the other — that is to say, the greatest number — to purgatory. If 
these last are able to manifest themselves, it can be only with God's 
permission. Otherwise, they are fallen angels. 

Have you never read the Gospel? Do you not know that our 
Savior descended into hell on Good Friday, after having poured 
out his blood for the salvation of the world? 

What need have you to seek, then? The Church has been en- 
trusted, by the Holy Ghost, with the mission of teaching, and it 
alone has the right to teach. You are a renegade, like Julian the 
Apostate, and you will end like him, with your Sun Cult. 

You are disturbing men's souls. Let them slumber upon the 
pillow of Faith. 

Yes, you serve Lucifer, Satan, Beelzebub, and Ashtoreth, like the 
Free Masons; you are a slave, while believing yourself free and a 
master. 

Then renounce these barren investigations, which can lead you 
nowhere and which are compromising your reputation as a savant. 
This is the earnest solicitation of a former admirer, who was greatly 
deluded concerning you. 

Canonico della Ventura. 

(Letter 1049.) 

This is rather like the ideas, cited in our first volume, 
concerning Lourdes and the healing attributed to the Virgin 
Mary. Opinions are divided. A very devout Christian — one 
who is eager, even, to make converts — Monsieur Jean Vetter, 
wrote me from Switzerland, on October 7, 1921 (Letter 4710) : 
' ' Only Jesus is in question. As for his mother, Mrs. Joseph, 
or Mrs. Mary, who does not deserve the name of Virgin 
because Jesus had brothers and sisters, her influence is non- 
existent. ' ' 

These various interpretations do not concern us here. The 
myth of the Virgin mother is a Hindu and also an Egyptian 
myth which came long before Christianity. Let us give facts. 



110 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Here is a protest identical with the preceding one, though 
its antithesis: 

Lyons, September 10, 1900. 
My dear Sir: 

I did not reply to your solicitation, published by the newspapers, 
regarding so-called psychic phenomena, because it depressed me 
greatly to see a man of science, like you, seeking to begin a second 
such book as Julius Obsequens's "De prodigiis." You are doing this 
by the worst of methods : by evoking the lucubrations of all the far- 
ceurs, of all the impostors, of all the practical jokers, of all the 
neurotic and hysterical persons in the world, and of all those who 
are weak-minded, crazy, and given to hallucinations.^ I can dis- 
cover no explanation of what you might hope for, unless you are 
seeking large sales for your book ; such sales you will certainly have, 
but at the sacrifice of your dignity as a savant. 

I have not the honor of knowing you, but have been a careful 
reader of your works since your first book appeared. At that time 
I myself was a student in Paris, living at my father's publishing 
house, number 5 rue de Tournon, where Allan Kardec (Monsieur 
Kivail) was bookkeeper. He was also bookkeeper for the news- 
paper "L'Univers'' — incognito, of course. He was a good sort, but, 
apart from his work, absolutely crack-brained.^ I used to enjoy 
talks with him. The clergymen and the prelates who used to come 
to our house, because of the nature of my father's business, believed 
firmly in spiritualism, in the existence of spirits, in manifestations 
from beyond the grave, but stated positively that all these phe- 
nomena were manifestations of the devil. You will understand that 
between the clergymen and book publishers there was a professional 
antagonism as well as a blind and wilful faith in statements which 
both groups took care not to verify seriously, for fear of destroying 
the lucrative framework of the two professions, about which there 
was more cooperation than rivalry. 

1 Which of these epithets could be applied to a single one of the 
published accounts? As for Obsequens's book, my readers have long 
since known what I said of it. 

2 That is not my own opinion. I knew him personally (1861-69). 



WITHIN AN HOUR AFTER DEATH 111 

From my boyhood these visits have drawn my attention and my 
curiosity to so-called psychic or supernatural phenomena. 

But my emphatically critical turn of mind allowed me to believe 
nothing without proofs. Nobody has been able to give me a single 
one. Every time I wished to verify, by scientific methods, some 
story, some account of an apparition, an evocation, or whatever so- 
called psychic phenomenon it was which passed beyond the sphere 
of the known natural laws, I found myself face to face with a 
void, a distressing and often painful void.^ Sometimes I had no 
"psychic fluid," sometimes the presence of a person who did not 
believe halted the "spirits," sometimes I was not ready to receive 
their communications. Sometimes persons such as Madame Blavat- 
sky and the theosophists admitted to me, honestly, that it was neces- 
sary to torment oneself, to addle one's brain, to hypnotize one's pow- 
ers of reasoning for long years in order to work oneself into a state 
of — besottedness, capable of putting one into communication with 
the principle of universal intelligence. In short, I heard fine things 
talked of, but each time that I got to the bottom of such stories, I 
always found either gross illusions, or farces, or second-hand testi- 
mony accepted without verification by weak or disordered minds, or 
lies, the originators of which ended by believing in them seriously, 
after having told them; this last happens very often. I am not 
speaking of deliberate and wilful imposture, like that of the mother 
superior of the commune of 2, who, in order to hide her noc- 
turnal meetings with the head mason who had built the school-house, 
terrorized the whole village for eighteen months — even the arch- 
bishop, who did not know what exorcism to resort to. 

Later I traveled in the Orient, to do research work in natural 
history and the history of religions ; there, Indian fakirs showed me 
things that were absolutely astonishing: the phenomenon of the 
mango-tree, levitation, the invisible carrying of certain objects to a 
designated spot, etc. But there is an important difference between 

iThe known natural laws? Where do they stop? This statement 
presupposes that all the men of science whoi have ascertained the 
reality of psychic phenomena have not known how to observe! To 
declare that these phenomena do not exist is contrary to truth. 

2 I am omitting the name given by my irascible correspondent. 



112 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

all these prodigies and the study of our so-called psychic manifes- 
tations in the Occident. The Oriental marvels may be repeatedly 
brought about by the will of the person causing them, and may 
therefore be classed at once with scientific applications of natural 
laws.^ Certainly we do not know the forces by virtue of which they 
are produced, but we see clearly that they are caused not by a 
capricious and unknowable entity, but by the working out of a 
general natural law. This distinction is the best criterion by which 
we may distinguish the true from the false — the phenomena of a 
scientific nature, which must be investigated, from imposture which 
must be exposed and deception which must be brought to light. 

If the dead could come back, all of them would do so. They 
would come back, above ail, to do useful things for those they had 
loved: to save innocent persons unjustly accused, to reveal treasure 
which they had hidden and the secrets which they know would be 
useful to their suffering loved ones; these apparitions would not 
appear to a very few persons, merely, and talk nonsense to them. 
As for the payment of debts, the advantage in deception is only too 
evident : is fecit cui prodest. Besides, Monseigneur Pavie may well 
have thought of this way of doing a service without hurting a per- 
son who he knew was worthy of his interest. ^ On the other hand, 
it is very evident that if the dead could return, they would do so 
entirely naked. Where could they procure the clothing, long since 
rotted away, in which people assert that they see them? These 
apparitions can only be subjective; they can exist only in the 
minds of those who see them. Then how can they leave material 
traces upon furniture, upon photographic plates? There is here a 
dilemma from which it is impossible to escape. In short, there is 
in all this absolutely nothing that can be taken seriously, nothing 
worthy of a man of science. And as for those who have taken or 
are taking delight in childish nonsense of the sort, they will find 

1 1 have often refuted this error. To think in this way is to con- 
fuse observation with experiment; astronomy and meteorology with 
chemistry and physics. Can one reproduce, at will, spontaneous 
phenomena such as the fall of a meteorite, the appearance of a new 
star, a magnetic solar eruption, a flash of lightning which tears a 
man's clothes off without killing him, etc? 

2 The. writer is referring to an article which I had published in La 
Revue des revues, July 15, 1899. (See above, p. 76.) 



WITHIN AN HOUR AFTER DEATH 113 

mucli more of it in the Acta sanctorum; it would seem quite super- 
fluous to compile a new edition of that work. 

All this, my dear sir, is not my reason for writing this letter, 
which is already very long, but simply my pretext. What I wish 
to discuss with you is a question exclusively scientific ; in this matter 
you may, if you will, render an incomparable service to the science 
of which you are master . . . 

This letter, interesting from more than one aspect, held 
nothing nev^ to me in the v^ay of subject-matter, the sort of 
thing which has been considered and refuted a hundred times. 
It went on to ask me to found an observatory on Bourbon 
Island, upon Mount Benard, at a height of three thousand 
meters — one similar, as to situation, to the Flammarion Ob- 
servatory established in 1880 in Bogota, on the equator (also 
at a height of three thousand meters), by Jose Gonzalez. 
The letter (Number 770) was signed by that man of most 
estimable judgment, Monsieur E. Pelagaud, President of the 
Lyons Anthropological Society, Doctor of Letters and of Law. 

I wished to place these two protests (selected from a large 
number of analogous ones among the four thousand, eight 
hundred letters received since 1899) before the eyes of my 
readers, who are well informed as to psychic phenomena. 
It is my wish that they themselves should judge whether 
reason lies on the side of those who deny, or those who seek. 

I have made allowance, naturally, for cases in which there 
was a possibility of there being concerned farceurs, Hars, 
and minds that were disordered or given to illusions. I have 
for years made careful note of such cases. (See "L'ln- 
connu," page 81, and '*Les Forces naturelles inconnues," 
page 201: Cheating, Deception, Mystification.) Such cases 
exist, but constitute a minimum. In almost every instance 
in which I have been able to make a personal investigation I 
have encountered perfectly trustworthy people. A few of 
them may have suffered from self-deception, may have been 



114 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

the dupes of illusions; but they themselves had taken the 
possibility of illusions into account. 

Among those who have told of the occurrences given here, 
it would be absolutely impossible to find a farceur, an im- 
postor, a practical joker — the terms used in the second of 
the letters. 

It will be readily understood that the arguments just cited 
did not stop me. I have been considering and reconsidering 
them since 1865 (the date of the first edition of "Forces 
naturelles inconnues'^. I have received a certain number 
of criticisms of this sort ; I grant that most of them have been 
prompted by the desire to do me a service, and I sincerely 
thank my unknown friends. It is not to be doubted that 
established science, as well as the opinion of the worldly- 
minded, is opposed in spirit to these investigations. I have 
found this to be the case every time I have called attention 
to the problems, in various French and foreign reviews. 
The fruit is not yet ripe. People are afraid. Often their 
scruples are prompted by father confessors. Believers as 
well as rationalists fail to understand that my investigation 
concerning the existence of the human soul and its survival 
after this life that is so transient, so fleeting, so easily de- 
stroyed, is a study of the greatest importance — that it is 
conducted in a manner rigorously scientific. Such investi- 
gation constitutes the first duty of savants. People will un- 
derstand some day — in a hundred years, perhaps. 

We may find consolation in the fact that Lamarck was 
in exactly the same position when he set out to transform 
natural history. He was not understood before the time of 
Darwin. 

Since I have never written anything nor done anything 
from personal interest, and although my independent inves- 
tigations are in general taken in bad part, I shall continue 
my research in the belief that I am laboring in the cause 
of general enlightenment and freedom of conscience. 



WITHIN AN HOUR AFTER DEATH 115 

But we are not concerned with my ephemeral self (I regret 
to bring myself forward so often) ; we are concerned with 
the method here extolled, one very different from that under- 
lying ancient beliefs and sentimental considerations. Let us 
study in all freedom the manifestations and apparitions of 
the dead. To suppose, as people do sometimes, that an ap- 
parition is an illusion because they cannot admit the exist- 
ence of phantoms, comes down, simply, to this: ''I do not 
believe because I do not believe." What logic! Is it not 
time to proceed as free men? 

Let us begin our chronological exposition by giving the 
occurrences which followed closest upon the moment of death. 
They belong, in naturel sequence, after the accounts set forth 
in Volume II, of apparitions and manifestations at the mo- 
ment of death. After careful analysis we attributed them 
to the dying, to those still alive. Nevertheless we gained 
an impression from several that they may have taken place 
after dissolution. For example, this would seem true of the 
last manifestation (Volume II, page 331) — that of the mad- 
man Landry, who made an uproar when the nun in the 
hospital came to bring breakfast to his former neighbors in 
the adjoining cells. Then, too, there was the apparition of 
the servant who had been drowned, and who showed herself 
to her mistress, dripping water (Volume II, page 366) ; and 
also the statements made by dead persons, expressed in these 
words: '^I am dead/^ in the cases given on pages 282, 285, 
and 287 of the same volume. There was also (Volume II, page 
308) the young soldier from Ivry, who was killed in the 
war by the bursting of a shell, on June 16, 1915, and who 
announced his death by three blows struck upon the door 
of his mother's room. There was the case of Madame Pierre 
Ulric's son, killed on the famous Hill 304 (upon which, our 
attention was fixed so desperately during the whole of the 
German war) ; the manifestation followed immediate^ after 
the young sergeant's death. His mother did not hear the 



116 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

noises in question before the ball struck him; probably she 
did not hear them long afterward. In all likelihood, she 
heard them at the very moment of his death: they were 
telephonic blows. Moreover, a question we have often asked 
ourselves always arises, that of time. What is duration of 
time? As we have said, a minute of analysis is longer than 
six hours of sleep. 

The cases of manifestations on the part of persons who 
have come to announce their death are so numerous, so 
varied, so wholly without connection one with another, that 
it is impossible to doubt them. Let us consider those which 
followed immediately upon the moment of dissolution. I shall 
present in this chapter only occurrences which took place 
during the -first hour after death. 

Here is an odd happening, an account of which was sent 
me in 1900 by a Russian correspondent : 

My grandfather took real pleasure in startling people in a way 
that was naively original. He would clap his hands three times if 
one seemed absorbed, preoccupied, and without fail if one were un- 
fortunate enough to be half asleep. 

Since he had had this mania from the time he was very young, 
he had several serious quarrels with strangers, or even with friends 
who would grow impatient. His real butt was an aged relative of 
his, a certain Mademoiselle Stephanie, who was deeply devout. She 
liked to sit very quietly, was a little apathetic, and often dreamed 
away the time in a corner. 

My grandfather, delighted by this propitious habit of mind, always 
surprised her at a moment when she least expected it, and frightened 
her so with his terrible clapping that she would fall, literally, into 
a swoon! And he would laugh, the heartless wretch, as happy as 
could be. He would tell her over and over again that she could 
be absolutely sure of hearing him clap his hands three times at the 
moment of his death, no matter where he died, even if it were a 
thousand miles away. 



WITHIN AN HOUR AFTER DEATH 117 

This had gone on for a number of years. Once my grandfather, 
before making a long trip, spent some weeks at Mademoiselle 
Stephanie's home. Although he was particularly fond of her, he 
did not deny himself the pleasure of frightening her more than ever. 
It was a veritable mania, and he always found amusement in her 
terror. When he left her, he assured her once more that she could 
be certain of hearing him clap his hands three times at the moment 
of his death. Several months went by without news from him. 
My grandfather was still on his travels. 

One evening, when she was having supper with a woman, a neigh- 
bor of hers, what did they both hear, at precisely half -past nine, 
but the terrible, thrice-repeated clapping of hands! Absolutely 
astonished, they looked in the hiding-places where my grandfather 
might have been, but in vain. Poor Stephanie fell ill from it. 
Several days afterward she received a special-delivery letter sent by 
my Uncle Max. This letter informed her of the sudden death of my 
gTandfather, at half-past nine, on November 13th, just as they were 
sitting down to supper. At that very instant they were speaking 
of Mademoiselle Stephanie. My grandfather, laughing uproari- 
ously, emptied his glass and fell dead. 

The district where he died is situated in the interior of Volhynia 
(European Russia), about a hundred and fifty Russian leagues from 
the chateau where Mademoiselle Stephanie was living. Since there 
was no way of telegraphing at that time, and the means of communi- 
cation were inadequate, my Uncle Max sent her a special-delivery 
letter, which took, I believe, nearly two weeks to arrive. All the 
members of my family can vouch for this incident. 

Olga Pouchkine. 

(Letter 1007.) 

This is, undeniably, an odd story. It is not probable that 
the amiable practical joker, who died suddenly at the dinner 
table, thought of clapping his hands before he was dead; 
he must have thought of it afterward. We may conclude 
from this that death is not so dramatic an event as we sup- 
pose it to be, and that our personalities do not change in- 
stantly. 



118 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

The only way of escaping the dilemma of granting the 
reality of this significant incident is to declare that the nar- 
rator lied! And it is the same with all similar happenings. 

An account of another purposive manifestation, through 
the striking of blows, was given me in the following letter, 
sent from Paris on May 16, 1900 : 

On November 23, 1893, I had gone to bed at about nine o'clock. 
A quarter of an hour afterward very distinct blows were struck 
upon my bookcase. Surprised, I attributed the noise, at first, to 
the fact that the furniture might possibly have made a cracking 
sound. Some minutes afterward three blows were struck upon 
the wall; I sat up in bed; the moon was shining brightly in the 
sky; there was no sign of any wind that could shake the windows 
or the blinds, and I concluded that in the repeated blows there must 
be the warning of an event which concerned me. 

I then demanded that, if this were the case, the same blows be 
struck upon the head of my bed (the sound had come from various 
spots: the wall, the table, etc.). Two or three minutes went by, 
and the knocking sounded again, near me, and very distinctly. It 
continued in this way until two o'clock in the morning, when it 
ceased. 

The next day (the twenty-fourth of November) I was informed 
of the death of my nephew, Ernest Jouard. It had occurred on the 
preceding night. He was forty years old. 

I am absolutely sure that my poor nephew thought of me, at the 
final moment, and that his soul came to give me warning of his 
departure. The hour of his death coincided with the strange mani- 
festations. 

I affirm, on my honor, the absolute exactitude of this account. 
It may be useful to you, since you are gathering information. 

A. L. Danet, 

(Letter 919.) Paris. 

In this instance also it would be difficult not to see a very 
close connection between cause and effect; difficult not to 
think that the blows were a purposive warning, probably 



WITHIN AN HOUR AFTER DEATH 119 

on the part of a man already dead, for a dying man does 
not act thus. What we call "death" is a continuation of 
life, under another form. I did not cite this case in Volume 
II; it seems to me to belong in the present volume, since 
the replies were made with definite intent. It forms a con- 
tinuation of the manifestations at the moment of death which 
we have already given. As we said before, it is often difficult 
to decide whether such and such a manifestation took place 
at the very moment of death, or some seconds afterward. 

I am constantly receiving communications concerning un- 
expected revelations. A teacher in Copenhagen, who asked 
me not to give her name, told me that when she was about 
twenty years old she was in the habit of corresponding with 
her husband by means of thought. Both of them usually 
put down, in automatic writing, the same ideas at the same 
time. She adds: 

My husband fell ill, and was being nursed in a hospital which was 
some distance away from me. One morning he appeared to me at 
the foot of my bed, seemingly in good health. It was a dream, but 
a dream which awakened me, and made me cry out suddenly, "You 
here, and well!" I gazed about, I sought for him; he was not there, 
of course, but I heard his voice say, in tones so pleading that I 
shall never forget them, ^'Pray, my dear, pray J' 

On that morning he had died suddenly, the victim of an accident. 

On the supposition that a large number of accounts, sent you 
from all countries, may help you to solve the deepest problems of 
the soul, I am sending you these lines. Professor, written from Den- 
mark. They may aid in your investigations, so helpful to humanity. 
But if my true statement is to be published, I shall ask you not to 
let my name be known. 

(Letter 929.) 

We have always the tendency to see in such things only 
hallucinations coinciding with the hour of death. Is this 
admissible? No. There are too many cases. Arithmetical 



120 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

calculation has shown the improbability of the hypothesis. 
This case might be open to discussion if the sick man had 
seemed to be dying; but he appeared to be cured. The 
manifestation on the part of some one dead may therefore 
be considered real. But why the requests for prayers? 
What good can they do? Here we have mystery upon mys- 
tery, and yet reality. Was it mental transmission? Was 
it an interpretation by a religious person 's subconscious mind, 
a mind that believed in prayer ? Was it a wandering soul ? 

Whether phantoms actually exist, or are only telepathic 
transmissions of the thoughts of the dead, we may safely 
say that the question is of interest to us all, since all of us 
must disembark upon the unknown shore. 

It is inconceivable that people should prefer to know noth- 
ing for the childish reason that this knowledge may not be 
pleasant. The subject concerns all of us personally. But is 
destiny the same for all? When they leave this life, are all 
souls errant souls? Do not some of them take flight at once 
to higher spheres? Is not the invisible world as varied as 
ours, even more varied ? 

All these are questions which future science must solve. 

The only way of enlightening ourselves is by comparing 
observations. I should like to add to the preceding com- 
munications one which was sent me at the time of my earliest 
inquiry. I did not publish it in ''L'Inconnu, " because I 
omitted, on principle, all anonymous letters. Since I am now 
better informed, after a quarter of a century of comparative 
research, I often find, when reading these letters again, the 
marks of an indubitable sincerity. Here is the letter of 
which I was speaking : 

I was seven years old, and was at a school in Italy; my mother 
had gone to Vienna (Austria) with my father, where he was to be 
operated upon for gall-stones. On November 23d I was punished, 
since I did not know my music lesson, and put on dry bread. My 



WITHIN AN HOUR AFTER DEATH 121 

teacher, wlio was sorry for me, probably, said to me, "Go up and 
get your music-book and if you know your lesson, you may have 
dinner." The piano was in a little room on the third floor. I went 
up, as a matter of course, without a light; the word "fear" was 
unknown to me; and, besides, in our home we were not accustomed 
to admit that there was such a thing. I picked up my music-book 
and turned as I heard some one call, "Mimi, Mimi!" three times in 
succession. I saw my father and threw myself towards him. He 
was not there, and I went downstairs four steps at a time, calling 
out, "Papa is up there!" They went up with a light: nothing — 
absolutely nothing. I cried all that night ; I said that my father had 
come back, that he had hidden himself because I had not been good, 
and I promised to work hard, so that he would come back. The 
next day a telegram reached the school: my poor father had died 
at half-past seven in the evening, at the hour at which he had 
appeared to me. 

He appeared not only to me but also to my grandmother. She 
was my mother's mother, and therefore my father's mother-in-law, 
but he loved her dearly. There were three of them in the dining- 
room: my grandmother, her second husband, and my grandmother's 
daughter, when the door opened and my father came in. My grand- 
mother exclaimed: "There you are! How splendid that you got 
well so soon!" 

There was no one there. My grandmother said: "Let us pray! 
He is dead." 

I can vouch for these occurrences. I should, perhaps, have for- 
gotten them because of my youth (I am now forty-six years old), 
but people told me of them so often that they are engraved upon 
my memory; my conviction is unshakable. 

I should prefer that you give only my initials as a signature. 

L. M. G., 

(Letter 76.) Venice. 

After a careful reading of this account, there was no 
doubt in my mind as to its sincerity. The two distinct 
apparitions give it an especial value. And a child of seven ! 

These may be illusions, hallucinations, we always say to 



122 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

ourselves. But, emphatically, this hypothesis of the lazy- 
minded satisfies us no longer. We wish an explanation. It 
is certain that there are, at times, hallucinations; but it is 
inadmissible that there be only hallucinations in all the cases 
cited. The following experience, for example, was so definite, 
so spontaneous, so unexpected, that it seems to me impossible 
not to consider it conclusive. It was taken from a letter 
which I received recently (April 17, 1921). 

Most honored Master: 

I should never have dared to write you, if I did not feel that the 
modest but authentic information which I can bring to your notice 
may be of service in your exalted task. 

I am a young engineer. I have long known you through my 
father, one of your earliest readers. 

I had a friend named Charles, a youth of sixteen. It was in 
1908. One evening, when I was reentering my home, I heard my- 
self called several times, most distinctly, and I recognized his voice 
perfectly. The voice was disturbed and beseeching, but very tender, 
I instantly recalled that Charles had told me that at times during 
our spiritualistic seances he had seen one of his uncles, who had 
died a short time before, beckoning to him to approach. 

Disturbed in spite of myself, I did not go to sleep until very 
late. Then, almost at once, I was awakened by some one touching 
my forehead, and a voice calling me; I saw Charles distinctly at 
the head of my bed; he said to me: "Good-by! Good-by! All is 
well with me! Comfort my family! I'll come back to your 
seances!" And he disappeared slowly. Then there was nothing 
more! 

As soon as morning came I ran to our friends' home. I found 
them greatly disturbed: Charles had not come back that night. 

Instinctively — I do not know why — I thought of a little piece of 
ground in the country which they owned. I confided my fears to 
the family, and took them there. 

In the garden, under the arbor, we found his body, stretched out 
on the ground; in his right hand he held a flask in which there was 
still left a little cyanide solution. 



WITHIN AN HOUR AFTER DEATH 123 

He had killed himself of his own free will, and had warned me 
of it through this manifestation. 

There was one curious thing which struck all of us: the ground 
about the arbor was covered with little white flowers, which looked 
as though they had come up spontaneously, for I am sure that they 
were not there some days before, and nothing had been done to 
make them grow. 

There, dear Master, is something the exactitude of which I can 
guarantee. You can verify the facts if you like, although I lost 
sight of this family long ago. 

Henry Bourgeois, 

(Letter 4443.) Macon. 

There is an indubitable connection between the manifesta- 
tion and the act of the man who committed suicide. The 
theories of the subconscious mind, of the subliminal, give 
us no explanation of the vision, of the utterance: ''Good-byl 
Comfort my family ! I '11 come back to your seances !" These 
were Charles's very ovm words. 

Those whom we have loved while they were alive and to 
whom we remain attached until they die do not grow to be 
strangers to us. They still exist, and in various circum- 
stances we feel their invisible presence. But positive mate- 
rial proofs of their communication with us are rare. 

From that most informative but slightly prejudiced work 
of the Marquis of Mirville "Des Esprits et de leurs mani- 
festations diverses" (*' Spirits and Their Various Manifesta- 
tions") we take the following incident, given also by d'Assier 
C'L'Humanite posthume" — ''Human Beings after Death '^ 
— page 41) : 

Monsieur Bonnetty, the present editor of "Annales de philosophic 
religieuse^' tells us that one evening before he went to sleep he saw 
the shade of one of his friends, who was then in America, partially 
open the curtains of his bed. The shade told him that lie had just 
died that very moment. The sad news was confirmed later, and that 



124 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

hour was mentioned as his friend's last. Moreover, the shade wore 
a vest; Monsieur Bonnetty was much struck with the design on it, 
which was most extraordinary. He made inquiries later, and asked 
that he be sent the pattern of the vest. It was precisely that of the 
one which the apparition wore. 

In this case, what role could the subconscious play? 

The letters which I have been sent concerning manifesta- 
tions immediately following dissolution are too numerous to 
be published in this chapter; there is one among them, how- 
ever, which I should not like to omit. Madame Thenard, of 
the Comedie-Frangaise, wrote me in August, 1908 : 

My great-grandmother perceived Etienne Thenard's death from a 
distance, in an odd manner. She was playing loto one evening. 
Since she was already blind at that time, Mademoiselle Rachel had 
had special cards, in relief, made for her. Suddenly she ceased 
playing and cried: "Stop, children! My grandson is ill!" We 
began to joke with Grandmother, and to say that she was disturbed 
without reason. How could she think that Etienne was ill"? Had 
she not heard from him the very day before? But she insisted: 
"I 'm sure of it. I heard two blows struck on the window." It is 
to be noted that she lived in a third-floor .apartment, without a 
balcony, at 176 rue Montmartre. We believed that she had been 
the dupe of an hallucination, and, very gently, we made her resume 
her game. But after some minutes she burst into sobs and com- 
manded in a firm tone : "On your knees, my children ! Etienne is 
dead; let us pray for him!" Terrified by her attitude and full of 
sadness, each of us did as she did. We spent a part of the night 
grouped about her, in prayers and tears. The morning of the next 
day we learned, through a telegram, that Etienne had died, the day 
before, at nine o'clock in the evening, — that is, at the very moment 
when the scene which I have described was taking place. "I was 
sure of my misfortune," the poor blind woman moaned. "I had 
heard a knocking at the window a second time: it was my grand- 
son's soul saying good-by to me !" 

J. Thenard, 
Of the Comedie-Frangaise. 



WITHIN AN HOUR AFTER DEATH 125 

(Etienne Thenard, of the Opera- Comique, was born in Lyons, in 
1807, and died in 1838. The first Madame Thenard was born in 
1757, in Voiron, and died in 1849. She played at the Theatre- 
Frangaise from 1777 to 1819 ; she was the great-grandmother of our 
contemporary, Madame Thenard. Rachel was bom in 1820 and died 
in 1858.) 

Here, too, we have a case of telepathic transmission im- 
mediately after dissolution. Blows struck upon the windows 
were heard — blows which had no actual reality. It was a 
mental impression produced by the dead man. We found 
in Volume II a large number — selected from a still larger 
number — of fictitious physical phenomena produced hy the 
dying. Those which proceed indubitably from the dead are 
much less numerous, less automatic, more purposeful. I shall, 
however, give one, among others, that is quite comparable 
to those in Volume II. I am taking it from an old letter, 
sent me in April, 1899. Here is the account : 

My grandparents were living in a little town in the Canton of 
Savoie. Grandmamma had a brother of whom she was very fond; 
he lived about fifty kilometers from the town. One evening, at 
about eleven o'clock. Grandfather and Grandmother heard a loud 
noise of falling dishes in the kitchen, out of which their bedroom 
opened. 

My grandfather got up to see what bad happened and, to his 
great surprise, found that nothing in the kitchen was broken or out 
of place. 

Then my grandmother said, after a moment of thought: "That 
noise was not natural. My brother is dead ; I 'm sure of it. Get 
on your horse and start off." Grandfather left some minutes later. 
When he had gone about twenty kilometers he met one of his 
brother-in-law's servants, who was coming to announce the latter's 
death. 

He went on his way, and, when he reached the home of the man 
who had died, he learned that death had taken pljace fifteen to 
twenty minutes before the noise had been heard. 



126 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

This statement which I have made is rigorously exact. 

H. MOLLIER, 

(Letter 313.) Paris. 

If I should repeat for the twentieth time that these noises 
seem absurd to us though they are indubitable, that would 
not aid in the solution of the problem. For the moment we 
are making sure of the reality of the synchronism; that is 
all. Did the fictitious noise occur at the moment of death, 
or afterward? I am giving the account just as I received it. 

The following incident would seem to me to have followed 
immediately upon dissolution. In this case we are concerned 
with an adventure of a very personal nature. It was pub- 
lished, together with an account of the inquiry which estab- 
lished its truth, in ''Phantasms of the Living," and was 
related by a well-known sculptress, Mademoiselle Hosmer. 

A young Italian woman named Rosa who had been in my serv- 
ice for some time, was obliged to go back to her sister's home be- 
cause of chronic ill health. When I took my usual horseback rides 
I often went to see her. On one of these visits, which I made at 
six in the evening, I found her gayer than she was ordinarily. I 
had long since given up hope that she would get well, but nothing 
in her appearance led me to believe that there was any immediate 
danger. When I left her I was counting on seeing her often in 
the future. She expressed a wish for a bottle of wine of a special 
sort, and I promised to bring it to her myself the next morning. 

I do not remember thinking of her for the rest of the evening. 
I went to bed, my mind calm. But I awakened from a deep sleep 
with the feeling that there was some one in the room. I reflected 
that no one could have come in. My bed was in the middle of the 
room ; a screen was at the foot of it. Thinking that there might 
be some one behind it, I cried out, "Who is there f But there was 
no answer. The clock in the next room struck five. At the same 
instant I saw Rosa's form standing before my bed, and in some 
way (I cannot state definitely that it was through speech) I gained 
an impression that the following words came from her : '^Adesso son 



WITHIN AN HOUR AFTER DEATH 127 

felice, son contenta" ("Now I am happy and content.") Then 
the shade vanished. 

At breakfast I said to the woman friend who shared my apart- 
ment, "Rosa is dead." — '"What are you thinking of!" she replied. 
"You told me yesterday that you'd found her better." 

Then I told her what had happened to me that morning. She 
laughed and said that I had been dreaming. She continued to make 
a jest of the matter, and even annoyed me a little by her persistence, 
since I was absolutely sure of having been fully awake. In order 
to settle the question, I sent a messenger for news of Rosa's con- 
dition. He came back with the report that she had died that 
morning at five o'clock. 

The account was followed by a statement of supplementary 
details establishing the fact that Mademoiselle Hosmer was 
thoroughly awake at the moment of her vision. She wrote : 

I heard familiar noises in the apartment below me, the noises 
which the servants made in opening the windows and doors. An 
old clock struck the hour sonorously and vibrantly; I counted "One, 
two, three, four, five," and decided to get up at once. It was then 
that I saw that Rosa was looking at me and smiling. 

H. G. HOSMER. 

I shall not stop to refute the objections of obdurate deniers, 
who continue to contradict all, blindly. We shall continue 
to point out examples of manifestations which occurred dur- 
ing the first hour after dissolution. 

The apparition described below appeared half an hour after 
death. It is among those which bear the most convincing 
stamp of authenticity, and which are best explained by 
mutual sympathy. Mademoiselle Stella wrote from Chiari 
(Italy) on January 18, 1884 ^r 

When I was about fifteen, and was spending my vacation at the 
home of Dr. J. G , I formed a close friendship with my host's 

1 Phantasms of the Living, 1, 532. Hallucinations telepathiques, 
p. 186. 



128 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

cousin, a boy of seventeen. We grew to be inseparable. We worked 
together, rode horseback together, and shared the same amusements, 
like a brother and sister. He was in very delicate health; I took 
care of him, and we never spent an hour far from each other. 

I am giving you all these details to show you that there was no 
trace of passion in our case; our relations were like those of two 
boys. 

One night they sent for Monsieur G , to examine his cousin 

who had suddenly fallen seriously ill with inflammation of the 
lungs. The poor boy died on the following night. I had been 
given no hint of the danger in which he was, and was not dis- 
turbed in the least about him. The evening he died I was quietly 
reading, when the door opened and Bertie, my friend, came in. 
I got up abruptly to push an arm-chair over to the fire for him, 
for he seemed to be cold and had no coat, although it was snowing. 
I began to scold him for having gone out without wrapping him- 
self up well. Instead of answering, he pressed his hand to his 
chest and shook his head. I interpreted this as meaning that he 
was not cold, that his lungs hurt him, and that he had lost his voice 
— a thing which sometimes happened to him. 

As I was still reproaching him for his imprudence the doctor 
entered and asked me to whom I was speaking. I answered: ^'To 
this poor boy without any coat, who has a terrible cold. We must 
lend him a coat to go home in." I shall never forget the horror 
and the stupefaction depicted upon the good doctor's face, for he 
knew {what I was ignorant of) that the poor boy had died half 
an hour before, and he had come to tell me of this. His first 
thought was that I already knew, and had gone mad. The doctor 
made me go out of the room, speaking to me as though I were a 
little girl. For some moments we talked to each other at cross- 
purposes. At length he explained that I had had an hallucination, 
an optical illusion; he did not deny that I had seen Bertie with 
my own eyes, but he gave me a "most scientific" explanation of this 
vision, fearing to frighten me or leave me with a painful impres- 
sion. As for me, I am sure of what I saw. I was reading an 
amusing book, and I clearly remember that I was laughing with 
all my heart at some absurdity of the hero at precisely the moment 
when the door opened. J. S. 



WITHIN AN HOUR AFTER DEATH 129 

The investigation brought out the fact that the narrator 
was neither nervous nor over-excitable, and had never had 
any other hallucination. 

The house in which the youth died was a quarter of an 
hour's walk from the doctor's house, and death had occurred 
half an hour before the apparition appeared. It always 
seemed strange to the narrator that she heard the door-knob 
turn and the door open, for it was the noise of the catch 
that made her lift her eyes from her book. The phantom 
walked across the room toward the fireplace and sat down. 
All seemed absolutely natural to her, and it is her opinion 
that the experience may have lasted almost five minutes. 
The room was lighted only by the large fire on the hearth, 
by the light of which she was reading. She lighted a candle 
when her friend arrived. 

Thus we have the specter ^ of a youth who had been dead 
for half an hour, opening a door, crossing a room, and seem- 
ing to be cold. His constant companion did not suspect 
that he was dead, and spoke to him, but received no reply. 
This '^double" would appear to be much like those of which 
we read in "At the Moment of Death"; it was an image 
produced in Mademoiselle Stella's mind by the dead boy, 
who was thinking of her. There was, besides, a material 
manifestation. 

We must also give in this chapter the two following ap- 
paritions; the first of these manifested itself immediately 
after dissolution.^^ The Bishop of Carlisle wrote in the 
''Contemporary Review"; of January, 1884: 

My correspondent, a student in Cambridge had some years be- 
fore made an agreement with one of his college friends: they were 
to meet in Cambridge on a certain date, and were to work together. 

1 Read again the chapter on Simulacres (Lucretius, De Natura Re- 
rum) . 

2 Phantasms of the Living, I, 414. Hallucinaiions telepathiqucs, 
p. 130. 



130 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Shortly before the time set for this meeting my correspondent was 
in the south of England. Waking up one night, he saw, or thought 
that he saw, his friend seated at the foot of his bed. He was, 
naturally, most surprised by this sight — all the more so from the 
fact that his friend was dripping water. He spoke to him, but the 
apparition merely shook its head and vanished. This vision came 
back twice that same night. Soon afterward the news arrived that, 
a short time before the moment of the vision, his friend had been 
drowned while swimming. 

Learning that the bishop's correspondent was Archdeacon 
Farler, those who were making the investigation wrote to 
him. He answered on January 9, 1884: 

Pampisford Vicarage, Cambridge. 

I told of the vision the following morning, at breakfast, several 
days before receiving news of my friend's death. I related it to 
my professor, John Kempe, and to his wife and family. I was 
living in Long Ashton, in Somerset County ; my friend died in Kent 
County. Since I was not in the least frightened by this vision at 
the moment when I saw it, I spoke of it as a singular dream rather 
than an apparition of some one dead. 

My vision occurred on September 2 or 3, 1868. It was repeated 
on the seventeenth of the same month. I have never had any sort 
of hallucination. 

G. P. Farler. 

It was learned, from the official records, that the narrator 's 
friend was drowned in the Cronch River on September 2, 
1868. 

Therefore, on the very night on which he was drowned 
the student first appeared twice to his comrade, and the latter 
saw him again fifteen days later. Was the second vision a 
recollection of the first 1 But it was not the same phantom ; 
the first was that of a drovi^ed man, and the second seemed 
clothed as usual. 

In ''Phantasms of the Living" we may find similar cases 



:WITHIN AN HOUR AFTER DEATH 131 

of various apparitions manifesting themselves repeatedly. 
(Volume I, pages 415, 444, 561, and Volume II, pages, 59, 237, 
256, 467, 500.) As for those who have been drowned, we 
have seen more than one case of the sort in the volume ''At 
the Moment of Death," the second in the trilogy ''Death 
and Its Mystery." 

One often hears persons, when one speaks to them of ghosts, 
of apparitions of the dead, express the traditional belief that 
"these things can happen only by the special dispensation of 
Providence." As to this statement, Frederic Myers remarks 
that it involves implications the truth of which cannot be 
verified, since, for those who believe in a God ruling all, the 
words dispensation and Providence are no more applicable 
to these occurrences than to any other occurrences; further- 
more, nothing proves that the man who has died is there him- 
self, and that the phantom is not a "double," something pro- 
jected to a distance by the deceased, an hallucinatory image. 
Instead of defining a specter as "some one dead who has been 
given permission to communicate with a living person," we 
might see in it " a manifestation of the persistence of personal 
energy"; an indication that a certain sort of force comes into 
play after death, in connection with a person who has lived 
upon this earth. Then, too, images may persist, though the 
dead man may have ceased to be the cause of them. 

Communication between some one dead and some one living 
can be only communication between thought in a certain 
state of existence and thought in a wholly different state. 
It is not like two persons talking together. There is, on the 
one side, spirit that is separate from matter, aiid, on the other, 
spirit in a brain. A hypnotized subject, who is in communi- 
cation only with the hypnotist, gives us a conception of these 
differences in the state of the spirit. 

These distinctions will grow clear, of themselves, in the 
following pages. Let us proceed methodically. 

It seems to me that no impartial reader of the preceding 



132 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

accounts can doubt that dead persons have manifested them- 
selves immediately after death to friends who did not know 
of their demise. One would have to be unpardonably and 
ridiculously intolerant to consider that these statements are 
of doubtful authority. 

The occurrences given in this first chapter, selected from 
manifestations and apparitions classified according to their 
remoteness from the moment of dissolution, took place during 
the first hour after death. Let us now read of those which 
took place several hours afterward, up to twenty-four hours, 
during the first day after dissolution. 

I think, however, that it may aid us if I remark that not 
one of the incidents given in this chapter occurred during a 
spiritistic seance. ''Spirit" manifestations, as they are 
called, will take up a special chapter. 



MANIFESTATIONS FROM ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS 
AFTER DEATH 

The swarm of the dead hums and 
swells. 

Sophocles. 

LET us continue our research, following the same 
method of approach. We shall gradually draw away 
from the ending of earthly life. Let us bring 
together, in this chapter, manifestations and apparitions 
observed during the first twenty-four hours after death. 
There is a great number of them, and we are obliged to 
restrict ourselves to a very limited choice. 

The accounts in the chapter just read concern manifesta- 
tions immediately after death — within an hour after it. Those 
of which we are about to read occurred at various periods 
from one to twenty-four hours afterward. 

The first in this classification is offered us by one of my 
colleagues of the Royal Astronomical Society of London, 
the Rev. Charles Tweedale. It was related in a scientific 
periodical well known to astronomers, ' ' The English Mechanic 
and "World of Science" of July 20, 1906. We give it in 
full: 

The evening of Friday, January 10, 1879, I went to bed early. 
Awakening in the midst of my first sleep, I saw the moon through 
the window giving on the south; its bright beams lighted up my 
room. At once my gaze was drawn toward the panels of a cup- 
board, which was part of the wall, and which served as a ward- 
robe. My eyes followed the shaft of light which illuminated the 

133 



134 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

eastern wall of my room, in which was the cupboard. Gazing 
fixedly in this direction, I saw, suddenly, a form appear in front 
of me, before the panels of the cupboard. Indistinct at first, it 
gradually grew clearer, until I recognized the face of my grand- 
mother. I had been observing it for some seconds, when the vision 
melted away gradually, and disappeared in the moonlight. An 
unusual thing struck me, and stamped itself upon my mind : it was 
the fact that my grandmother had on an old-fashioned cap, v/hich 
was fluted in a shell-like design. I was not in the least afraid and, 
thinking myself the victim of an illusion caused by the moonlight, 
I turned over and went to sleep again. 

The morning of the next day, at breakfast, I was beginning to 
tell of the apparition of the previous night, when to my great sur- 
prise my father left the table abruptly. He was most agitated; 
he went out of the room hastily, leaving his breakfast almost un- 
touched. I asked my mother for an explanation. She silenced 
me with a gesture. When the door was closed once more, I re- 
peated my question. Then my mother answered: "Charles, I ^m 
going to tell you the strangest thing I 've ever heard of. This 
morning your father told me that he had waked up in the night, 
and that he had seen his mother standing near his bed, but just at 
the moment when he wished to speak to her she had disappeared." 

This scene and this conversation had taken place about half- 
past eight, on the morning of Saturday, January 11th. Before 
noon we received a telegram announcing that my grandmother 
had died during the night. But that was not all, for my father 
next learned that his sister, who lived about thirty kilometers from 
our home, had also seen my grandmother appear. Three persons, 
therefore, had the same vision independently, and each attributed 
it to an hallucination. 

There is no doubt that this apparition was that of a person 
passing through the change we call death, in view of the moment 
when this triple apparition occurred. I remember perfectly that 
it was two o'clock in the morning; my father made a note of the 
precise moment of the vision. I did not get up to look at the 
time, but made an approximate reckoning of it. The house faces 
south, and the window of the room in which I was sleeping also 
looks toward the south. 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 135 

When I set about verifying details, I tried to find out at what 
hour the moon was at its highest point on the night of January 
10-11, 1879. The Nautical Almanac showed the time to have been 
nineteen minutes past two in the morning. When the moon is at 
its height, the two east and west walls are lighted up equally, as 
well as the north wall, at the back of my room. Consequently, I 
am sure that the moon was not far from its highest point at the 
moment of the apparition, and that it was ab.out two o'clock in 
the morning. This confirms in a remarkable way the time noted 
by my father. My aunt, too, said that the apparition which she 
witnessed occurred after death. Dissolution took place at -fifteen 
minutes past twelve. This proves that we are not concerned with 
a telepathic or subjective manifestation, occurring before death 
or at the very moment of death, but with a really objective appari- 
tion occurring after life had left the body. We may conclude, 
therefore, that the dead woman, though apparently lifeless, was 
sufficiently alive some hours later to manifest herself to different 
persons separated by considerable distances. 

As for the "garments of apparitions," I described the vision to 
my parents just as I had seen it, without attempting to find out if 
my grandmother had actually worn a cap with the trimmings 
which had struck me. Several weeks ago, with the idea of obtain- 
ing precise details as to this mystery, I wrote my uncle (my aunt 
departed this life in 1900), asking him to clear up certain interest- 
ing points, and sending him a sketch, drawn from memory, of the 
face I saw in my vision. Here is an extract taken from the reply 
which I received: 

"I can vouch for the exactitude of these details, for your grand- 
mother died in my house the morning of Saturday January 11, 
1879, at fifteen minutes past twelve. Her death-agony began on 
Friday and she breathed her last a little after midnight, according 
to my memorandum. My daughter and I have a distinct memory of 
what my wife said when she told us of the apparition of which 
she had been a witness. 

"You ask me if the sketch of the cap which you sent me is at all 
like the dead woman's last head-dress. The resemblance is striking. 
It is certainly the fluted cap which your grandmother wore the 
whole time she was ill and when she died; also, your description 



136 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

of the phantom is in exact agreement with the dying woman's 
appearance at the moment when life left her. I am telling the 
simple truth, and can, if necessary, vouch for these details by oath." 

My father died in 1885; but my mother is still living and has a 
distinct memory of the whole scene of which she was a witness. 
She confirms its essential points: 

^'I have read carefully my son's account of his vision, and I 
also remember that of my deceased husband (Doctor Tweedale). 
At that same time, my sister-in-law told us of the phenomenon 
which she had witnessed that night." 

The occurrence which I have just related presents so many re- 
marks of authenticity that we cannot hold it under suspicion. I 
advise those who are incredulous to inform themselves as to analo- 
gous happenings which have already been observed, and I shall 
add that there are many very interesting and very authentic phe- 
nomena which are still unexplained. 

Charles Tweedale, 
Member of the Royal Astronomical Society of London. 

It seemed to me helpful to give this story in its entirety. 
It is remarkable in that it relates an occurrence observed 
about one hour and three quarters after death — one that was 
seen independently by three persons. , Death occurred fifteen 
minutes after midnight, and the apparition was seen at two 
'clock. 

What is the explanation? 

Plainly it is in this case impossible to think that there was 
any deception whatsoever. 

In the ^'Annales des Sciences psychiques^' of October, 
1906, I discussed this most valuable observation and compared 
the hypotheses of illusion, hallucination, and telepathy. 

In our present state of ignorance as to the nature of 
matter, energy, and spirit, attempts to discover whether ap- 
paritions exist or not can only be approved of by all friends 
of truth, and we must congratulate Mr. Tweedale on having 
made this triple observation known. 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 137 

That there was an illusion, an hallucination on the part 
of three independent witnesses would seem to me inadmis- 
sible. 

The narrator declares that so far as he and his father 
were concerned, the phantom was there objectively and that 
the cap proved it. It seems to me that the reality of the 
apparition may be explained on the assumption that the 
dead woman influenced the minds of her children, and that 
this suggestion took the form of an image. A dead person 
may act upon a living person at a distance; may manifest 
himself under one form or another, doubtless by an impres- 
sion made upon the brain. 

Let us continue our investigation. The apparition of which 
we have just spoken was seen one hour and three quarters 
after death. Here is one, that of a mother to her daughter, 
seen a little later. 

I owe my acquaintance with this remarkable story to a 
kindness of the brilliant poet Auguste Dorchain. The account 
was set down in 1821, and is of a very clearly defined case 
of telepathy. The observation was made at a time when 
these phenomena were not known and had not been given a 
name. The dramatic incident was taken from Colonel 
Voutier's^ Memoirs. He was an ardent philhellenist ; in 
the middle of an account of his campaigns in Greece appears 
the story of an apparition, in a dream, immediately after the 
death of a Turkish woman who had been assassinated. The 
soldier historian was neither a braggart nor over-credulous; 
he does not undertake to explain the mystery, but gives an 
honest account of it. Here is the story : 

October^ 1821. Before taking up my narrative (it will carry me 
far from Tripolitza) I yield to my desire to relate a remarkable 
occurrence. 

1 Memoires sur la Guerre actuelle des Grecs ( I vol. Paris, Bossange, 
1823), pp. 97-100. 



138 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

A young Turkish girl was brought me by my soldiers. She was 
beautiful, and her fear of the misfortunes which in the case of a 
girl of sixteen follow upon captivity in a country where the enslave- 
ment of women is so odious — this fear made her still more interest- 
ing. I accepted the present of her which they made me, and in 
order to reassure her, I gave orders that she be placed in separate 
rooms and treated with all the regard due her sex and position. 
The procedure filled my captive with astonishment; she showed her 
gratitude by tears. 

A few days went by and my kindness to her and, above all, my 
restraint, so foreign to Mohammedan ways, had won her affection 
and her confidence. I used to spend a little time with her, trying 
to console her. Since she was separated from her mother, I was 
the only one to whom she could confide her grief. She loved me as 
a friend, and I was attached to her by that spiritual satisfaction 
unknown to him who reads these lines with a mocking eye. (A firm 
resolution which I had taken to save a young girl in all this up- 
heaval, and the necessity of giving my soldiers an example of a 
virtue which they were beginning to forget forbade any other sort 
of relation with the pretty slave.) 

One day I saw her approaching me, her head bent low and her 
eyes full of tears. "What's the matter, my girl?" I asked her. 
"Won't you ever be able to get over your sadness?" — "Oh, I have 
a good reason for crying! They've killed my mother." — "Who 
told youf— "/S'/je did."— "When?"— "Last night. I saw her; she 
spoke to me, and said: 'See, my daughter! The wicked men 
have killed me.' And she showed me her neck, which was cut 
through; there was another wound in her side. 'Dig a grave for 
me,' she added. And the spade, my dear mother?' — 'Dig up the 
earth with your nails, my daughter.' " 

That I might calm the unhappy child, I gave orders that in- 
formation should be sought as to what had become of her mother. 
They came to tell me that a woman had been found dead, with 
wounds that were still bleeding, in her neck and side. I asked 
Emme, who was still depressed, how we could recognize her mother. 
"She wore trousers of this material." I went to the spot where the 
body was; I secured a piece of the trousers and showed it to the 
young girl: "Was your mother's garment made of material like 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 139 

that?" — "Yes, it was really my mother; you found her, but you 
found her dead. Poor Mother!'^ And, summoning all her 
strength, she threw herself upon me, to seize my dagger and kill 
herself. I stopped her, and, that I might turn her from her fatal 
course, I told her that they had carried off her mother and sent her 
to Asia. This lie calmed the unfortunate girl. 

I confess that the memory of the occurrence made an extraor- 
dinary impression on my mind. I do not believe in nocturnal 
revelations, and nevertheless I am still utterly at a loss when I 
think that the terrible reality corresponded to the young Turkish 
girFs dream; we must see in this at least a strange trick of fate. 

I have the consolation (it is very gratifying), in ending this 
sad story, of being sure that poor Emme is happy; a respectable 
family of the Peloponnesus adopted her. 

We can but repeat here what we have said of certain other 
happenings: chance coincidence is possible, since the young 
girl was uneasy as to her mother's fate; she may have 
dreamed that she saw her assassinated. But one cannot help 
pointing out (1) that this was no ordinary dream, and that 
the impression received was most violent in its intensity; 
(2) that the wounds were seen, that the drama was lived 
through. Though possible, the chance coincidence of a dream 
is quite improbable. Moreover, a considerable number of 
similar cases that are, to-day, known, and have been investi- 
gated and discussed, would lead us to consider that the 
probability of telepathic communication approaches certainty. 
We have been prepared for this by Mrs. Tweedale's phantom, 
and by all the others. 

The apparition of the mother to the daughter, in a tele- 
pathic dream, would appear to have occurred a short time 
after she was assassinated. 

According to the law of probability, hallucinations repre- 
senting such and such persons should not coincide by chance 
with some particular event — for example, the death of these 
persons — in greater proportion than it should with other 



140 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

events. If this proportion is exceeded, we have some warrant 
for excluding the element of chance and, as a consequence, 
for thinking that the phantom had a real cause. 

My readers may remember reading of a phenomenon con- 
cerning two members of the same family which rather re- 
calls the preceding case : it was a most remarkable apparition 
of a dead man to his brother, several hours after dissolution. 
I gave the story in ^'L'lnconnu" (page 450). It concerned 
Mr. Frederic Wingfield, Belle-Isle-en-Terre, C6tes-du-Nord, 
who writes: 

On the night of March 25, 1880, I dreamed that I saw my 
brother, Richard Wingfield-Baker, seated on a chair before me. I 
spoke to him; he merely bowed his head in reply; then he rose and 
left the room. I awakened and found that I was standing, one foot 
on the floor near my bed and the other on my bed, and that I was 
trying to speak and utter my brother's name. The impression that 
he was really present was so strong, and the whole scene was so 
lifelike, that I left the bedroom to look for my brother in the draw- 
ing-room, where I found no one. I then had a feeling of impending 
misfortune, and I made a note of this "apparition" in my daily 
memorandum, adding the words: "May God prevent it!" Three 
days afterward I received news that my brother had died that day, 
at half-past eight o'clock, as a result of a faU when hunting. 

Death, therefore, had preceded this well-defined vision, by 
some hours. 

The objection which we raised as to the reality of the 
apparition of the young Turkish girl's mother would not 
apply in the present case. Thus one occurrence confirms an- 
other. 

The following experience was not less conclusive. It took 
place when the observer was fully awake, and even out in 
the open air. A person was seen — seen clearly, and recognized 
with certainty — ^two hours after her death, by a gardener who 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 141 

did not know that she had died. A special investigation of 
the incident was made by Frederic Myers.^ 

The Rev. C. T. Forster, pastor of Hinxton, wrote on 
August 6, 1885: 

My late parishioner Mrs. de Freville was a rather eccentric lady; 
she had, in particular, an abnormal interest in graves. Two days 
after her death, which occurred in London in the afternoon of 
May 8th, I heard that the gardener, Alfred Bard, had seen her 
that same evening (May 8th). I sent for him, and he gave me a 
very clear and very detailed account of what he had seen. 

He is a man who has the habit of observing carefully. He edu- 
cated himself as a gardener, and I am convinced that he is speak- 
ing the truth without any exaggeration. I am absolutely sure, 
also, that news of Mrs. de Freville's death could not have reached 
Hinxton before the next morning (May 9th). She was found dead 
at half-past seven in the evening. She had been left alone in her 
room; she was rather unwell, but was not believed to be seriously 
ill. 

C. F. FORSTER. 

Here is Mr. Alfred Bard's own story: 

July 25, 1885. 
I am a gardener; I work at Sawston. When I go home from 
my work I always go through the Hinxton cemetery. On Friday, 
the eighth of last May, I was returning as usual. When I was in 
the cemetery I looked down rather closely at the lawn, at a cow 
and a donkey lying there just within the gateway. As I lowered 
my head I glanced in the direction of the square vault where Mr. 
de Freville had been buried. Then I saw Mrs. de Freville leaning 
against the grating, dressed just as I used to see her ordinarily; 
she had on a hat of the sort called a coal-scuttle bonnet, a black 
jacket trimmed with crepe and a black dress. She looked straight 
at me. Her face was very white — much whiter than usual. I 

1 See Phantasms of the Living, I, 212, a^d Hallucinations telepath- 
iques, p. 235. 



142 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

knew her well, for I had worked at her home for some time. I 
supposed that she had come, as she sometimes did, to go into the 
mausoleum, and thought that Mr. Wiles, a mason from Cambridge, 
must be in the tomb, busy about something. I walked all around 
the door, looking closely to see if it were open. My eyes were 
riveted on her, and I myself was not more than five to six meters 
from her. She turned her face toward me, following me with her 
eyes. I walked between the church and the tomb (they are about 
four meters apart) looking to see if the tomb were open, for she 
was in just such a position that she hid the door of it from me. 
When I turned around she was gone. It was impossible for her 
to have left the cemetery, because to reach either one of the two 
exits she would have had to pass me. 

I was, therefore, convinced that she had gone into the tomb 
quickly. I went toward the door, which I expected to find open, 
but to my great surprise it was locked. As a matter of fact, it 
had not been opened at all; there was no key in the lock. I hoped 
to be able to look into the tomb itself; I shook the door to make 
sure that it was firmly locked, but there was no sign that any one 
had been there. Then I was very much frightened and looked at 
the clock; it was half -past nine. When I got home, I asked myself 
if what I had seen had been a product of my imagination; I told 
my wife of it, however. When, the next day, I was told that Mrs. 
de Freville was dead, I was so startled that it made me jump. I 
have never had any other hallucination. 

Alfred Bard. 

A statement, sworn to by Mrs. Bard (space is lacking to 
give it here), confirms the truth of the account. 

Forster, the pastor, took Mr. Myers through the Hinxton 
cemetery, and the description of the place was found to be 
absolutely exact. Furthermore, the date of the death was 
verified, by looking at the ''Times." 

Shall we think this experience an hallucination? But 
(1) the worthy gardener had never had one; (2) the appari- 
tion followed the death, which he did not know of; (3) the 
woman, original in her way of thinking, loved to visit graves. 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 143 

This too was, unquestionably, an apparition some hours 
after death. The phantom's garments demand an explana- 
tion. We may think that the woman who appeared remained 
faithful to her habit of visiting the cemetery (she was, more- 
over, destined to be borne there herself), and that her in- 
visible, spiritual presence had an effect on the gardener 's mind 
and showed him a corporeal image. 

The following case is, perhaps, still more curious. 

A young woman who had just died, suddenly, showed 
herself to her doctor. She died at one o'clock in the morn- 
ing, and the doctor was awakened at four o 'clock by a bright 
light in his room and a woman's form which he did not 
recognize. Let us give the story; it was published by Pod- 
more in his *' Apparitions." ^ 

The doctor wrote from Albany (U.S.A.) to Dr. Hodgson 
on September 10, 1888 : 

I am a physician, have been practising for eleven years, and 
am in excellent health ; I have never believed in apparitions. 

Last Monday, on September 3d, I went to bed about eleven 
o'clock, after my daily work. I had dined very lightly, at seven 
o'clock. 

My bedroom is on the second floor, and I lock all my doors ex- 
cept the one communicating with my wife's room. Below is the 
plan of our apartment. 

I occupy room Number 1, and my wife Number 2; her room has 
only one window and only one door, communicating with mine. 
My room has three doors, locked at night, and one window. The 
two windows of our rooms are hung with thick green curtains, 
which fall below them in order to exclude the light from without. 
No artificial light shines on the windows, and moonlight scarcely 
reaches them. 

I undressed, went to bed about eleven o'clock, and was not long 
in going to sleep. About four o'clock in the morning I was awak- 
ened by a bright light in my face. At first I thought it was my 
wife, standing at the point marked 3, for she was to get up at 

^Apparitions and Thought-Transference (1915), p. 401. 



144 



DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 




half -past five to catch a morning train. The light was so brilliant 
that I began to ask her questions at once, but no voice answered 
me. While I was speaking, the person I had seen withdrew toward 
point 4 and seemed gradually to disappear toward point 5. The 
light, gliding along silently, made me think that it was a servant 
crossing the hall, and that the light he carried had passed through 
the keyhole. But this was not possible, for hangings hid the lock. 
Then the idea occurred to me that a thief might be in the other 
room. I shouted to my wife to strike a light at once. She awakened 
and asked me this unexpected question: "Why, what's that bril- 
liant light in your room?" I lighted the gas in my room, made a 
search and found that there was no light in any of the rooms. 

My wife left on the morning train. I busied myself with my 
work as usual. 

At noon, when I went back home, my servant informed me that 
during my absence a man had come to ask me for a certificate 
for a young woman who had died suddenly at an early hour in the 
morning, as a result of a hemorrhage of the lungs. She had died 
about one o'clock. I had seen the apparition about four o'clock. 
So far as I was able to note, there was no great resemblance be- 
tween it and my patient, except in the matter of height. The lack 
of facial resemblance was not so great, perhaps, but the apparition 
had seemed much older to me. I had seen the young woman on 
the previous evening, and her illness had not seemed to promise 
any immediate danger: she had been ill for only two days. She 
had at first spit a little blood, as a result of having strained her- 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 145 

self. When the hemorrhage occurred that momiDg she had called 
for help and had uttered my name. 

This is the only phenomenon of this nature that has come within 
my personal experience. The apparition was very clear, but it 
vanished rapidly. My wife had noticed the light before I said 
anything to her, at the very moment when I awakened her. As for 
me, I had got up at once when the luminous apparition appeared, 
for I am accustomed to answer the telephone during the night. 

It would seem clear that we must see here a cause-and- 
effect relation, and that the dying woman — or the dead 
woman — produced the manifestation. Chance cannot be 
made an explanation. 

Frank Podmore, in conformity with his title ''Apparitions 
and Thought-Transf erence, " is willing to see only a case of 
transference of thought from the young woman to her 
doctor, before her death. But is this really the explanation? 

In the first place, the phenomenon occurred three hours 
after death. Why should the dying woman's summons 
have required this time to take effect on her doctor, who was 
accustomed to awaken for telephone calls, and who did not, 
therefore, sleep very deeply ? 

Then, what caused the light, seen by two persons? It 
could not be attributed to an hallucination. 

The question of deciding whether the light and the appari- 
tion were caused by a person still alive, or by that same per- 
son three hours after death, is put before us flatly. No 
subterfuge will avail. We must decide without preconceived 
ideas, without prejudice of any sort. 

Would not the simple, logical answer seem to you to be 
that the dead woman manifested herself, rather than that 
there was a strange case of thought-transmission and that 
the thought remained latent for three hours in the doctor's 
mind and then resulted in the light and the phantom? 

Let us note that, unlike the apparitions of Mr. Tweedale's 



146 



DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 



grandmother, of the young Turkish woman's mother, of Mr. 
Wingfield, and of Mrs. de Freville, this phantom remained 
very vague. The impressions received are most varied. Here 
is another example : 

A native of Bordeaux heard a door open and felt that some 
one had just come in behind him and sat down at a table. 
He looked round. It was his uncle, who lived in Laroche- 
foucauld; he had killed himself at five o'clock in the morn- 
ing. It was then half -past nine. Let us listen to the narra- 
tor's story: 

In 1888 I was in Bordeaux, in the rue du Palais-Gallien, living 
in an apartment arranged according to the little diagram which 
accompanies this note. 

At half-past nine on the morning of February 27th (the weather 
was quite good) I was seated at the point A, before my work- 
table, when I suddenly had the impression that the door B had 
just opened and that some one, who had entered noiselessly, was 
standing behind me. 

I turned toward the left and saw, very distinctly, my uncle 
G . The vision was of rather short duration. 




About a quarter of an hour afterward I was interrupted in 
my work by the arrival of a telegram announcing that my uncle 
was very ill, and asking me to go to him in Larochefoucauld, Cha- 
rente. The telegram had been taken to the telegraph office a little 
after eight o'clock. 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 147 

1 left immediately, and upon my arrival I learned of my uncle's 
death. He had fired two bullets into his head, and the doctors 
said that death had occurred at five o'clock in the morning. When 
I saw him in the apartment in the rue du Palais-Gallien, he was 
wearing the same clothes that he had had on at our last interview, 
about eight days before that time. I had been carrying on a brisk 
correspondence with him. Upon my arrival I found several letters 
from him that were intended for me, written during the night 
which preceded his suicide.^ 

Another occurrence. A woman, in excellent health and 
under absolutely normal conditions for observation, saw her 
uncle appear, for several minutes, seven hours after his death, 
which she did not know of.^ 

On Tuesday, May 25, 1897, at eight o'clock in the morning, Mrs. 
de Lagenest was in her apartment in Fontenay-le-Comte, making 
her bed in the absence of her maid, when, on the other side of the 
bed (which was in the middle of the room), she saw her uncle. 
Monsieur Bonnamy. He was living in Loche (near Loehes), and 
she believed him in good health. She saw him smile happily, but 
this apparition distressed her, and she walked to the other side of 
the bed, hoping to escape it. To her great surprise, she saw her 
uncle in the spot which she had just left. Then she spoke to him, 
asking the reason for his presence. She received no reply from 
the apparition; ceasing to smile, it gazed at her in a kindly way. 
Madame de Lagenest attributed this obsession to an hallucination. 
To escape its gaze, which disturbed her, she went down to the rooms 
on the ground floor, and went into her husband's office. The same 
phantom rose before her. "But Uncle, why have you come here? 
Are you dead?" The apparition vanished immediately after Ma- 
dame de Lagenest had uttered these words. 

She went to take a walk in the garden, to regain her self-control. 
Half an hour afterward, hearing some one ring the door-bell, she 
said to the servant near her, without having seen the person who 
had just arrived : "Go and get the telegram that 's come j my 

i Annales des Sciences psychiques, 1897, p. 114, 

2 Annates des Sciences psychiques^ 1900, p. 65. 



148 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

uncle is dead." This was true; Monsieur Bonnamy had died in 
Loche on May 25th, at a quarter-past one in the morning. 

According to Madame de Lagenest, the vision lasted for ten 
minutes. It caused her excessive fatigue, which did not disappear 
until very late in the evening. 

F. BODROUX. 

We may legitimately think that this was an optical illusion ; 
but we must not accept one-sided reasoning. These were 
illusions corresponding to reality. As a matter of fact, the 
ancle appeared to his niece seven hours after his death, which 
she did not know of. 

We are familiar with many observations of the same sort. 
Have we not already read, in Volume II, page 140, of the 
apparition of a friend seen in an arm-chair in a drawing-room 
twelve hours after his death ? To think that all these things, 
seen spontaneously, are illusions, is an hypothesis that grows 
less and less admissible, given the number of the phenomena 
and the normal conditions under which they were observed. 

The sensation described below, experienced by a son after 
his mother's death, would seem to have been due to the in- 
fluence of the mother, who was dead and happy at her de- 
liverance from earthly life. The communication, sent me on 
December 11, 1920, by my friend Warrington Dawson, an 
American diplomat already known to my readers ("Before 
Death," page 130), is doubly interesting by reason of the 
strange premonition recounted in it. Here it is: 

Sixteen months before her death my mother saw herself lying 
dead in the spot where she was to die as the result of a chance cold. 

In January, 1908, we were under the necessity of finding an 
apartment very quickly. One morning I had found one with which 
I was most satisfied, in the rue de I'Universite. When I went back 
to luncheon with my mother, in the rue de Varenne, where we lived, 
I proposed that she go and see it at once, telling her that if she 
liked it I would find the agent immediately and sign the lease. 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 149 

We did this. My mother seemed as satisfied with it as I. As 
we were passing from one room to another, she talked to me of 
how we would arrange the furniture and the pictures. Lastly, we 
arrived at the threshold of what was to be her bedroom. Suddenly 
I saw her face grow pale, and she fixed her eyes upon the central 
panel of the left wall; I had never seen such an expression on her 
face. I uttered an exclamation, and asked her what was the mat- 
ter. At the sound of my voice a shiver ran through her body; she 
recovered herself, and answered in a strangled voice: "It's noth- 
ing; I'm cold." 

As it was January, and the apartment was unoccupied, this 
seemed natural to me, and I thought no more of the incident. 

Some weeks after we had moved in I was more than surprised to 
learn from my friends that my mother was very unhappy in our 
new apartment; that she had a horror of it and bitterly regretted 
my haste in signing the lease. I asked her for an explanation, for 
I should never have taken an apartment which was not to her 
taste. She seemed very much embarrassed ; she said that our friends 
should not have repeated an unconsidered statement on her part. 
But her confusion showed me clearly that she was hiding something 
from me. I insisted, and she answered me with futile objections. 

I returned to the attack several times, only to see that she was 
always hiding her inmost thoughts from me. At length I per- 
suaded her to open her heart to me. She then said: "It's this. 
When I reached the door of my bedroom, 7 saw myself lying dead 
on that hed, which was where it is now. Then I knew that I should 
leave this apartment in my coffin." 

At these words I remembered her expression on our first visit. 
She had approved of everything until that moment, and had then 
let me make all arrangements without protesting. 

By force of argument I tried to banish her ideas, calling them 
morbid. Since I did not succeed, I proposed that she go and spend 
some months with my sister, in America. She left, and did not 
return until December. I asked her if she still wished to move 
out; I did not remind her of her vision, hoping that she would 
have forgotten it, for she seemed in very good health. She an- 
swered simply that she would never be happy in that house, and 
asked me to give up the lease. 



150 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

1 obtained the owner's permission, but on condition that I find 
another tenant. I began to look for one immediately, and suc- 
ceeded. It was then that I left for Africa, unexpectedly, with 
President Roosevelt, in April, 1909. She made preparations to 
move out. It was a strange thing that in one of the last letters 
which she wrote me, she spoke of her packing and added, "I am 
preparing for the great Exodus." This letter, written from the 
rue de FUniversite before her illness, did not reach me until long 
after her death. 

But friends had telegraphed me that she had developed pneu- 
monia, and w^as seriously ill. Day after day the cablegrams suc- 
ceeded one another, and left me no hope. It was with terror that 
I used to wait until the afternoon, when the telegrams were given 
me;- day and night I was oppressed with a feeling of inevitable 
and imminent catastrophe. 

One day. May 5th, I experienced, suddenly, an indescribable re- 
lief. I felt her presence near me; I was pervaded by a heavenly 
well-being such as I had never known. 

I thought at once of the telepathic bonds which had united us 
for long years. My only idea was : "The crisis is past ; my mother 
is saved, and in thinking of me she has transmitted her relief." 

I was completely happy for the first time since I received the 
first telegram. At sunset I heard my name being called; a native 
had come with a telegram, as usual. I rushed out to him. I opened 
the envelope: it announced my mother's death! 

I was absolutely thunderstruck by this news. I thought that she 
was alive; she had transmitted her thought to me; I had been in 
mental communication with her, and she was dead! Her loss 
would have been terrible for me, even if I had been prepared for 
it. Since I was no longer prepared, it was like a blow with a 
club. 

It took me several years to comprehend the truth. My mother 
had indeed sent her thought, but from what we call the other world. 
She had made me feel her presence, had made me experience her re- 
lief, her celestial well-being, had expressed to me all her mother-love, 
showing that our souls could not be separated. I had been able 
to hear, but not to understand. 

As nearly as I could compute the time, this occurred several 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 151 

hours after her death in Paris; her soul had required this delay, 
either to accustom itself to a state of eternal life after leaving 
this life, or to make itself felt by me through the veils of the flesh. 

Warrington Dawson. 
(Letter 4352.) 

There was nothing material about the manifestation. It 
was none the less remarkable on this account, and I was all 
the more ready to accept it as genuine from the fact that I 
had for many years known of the profound affinity which 
united this son to his mother. Both of them were endowed 
with special psychic faculties. As we remarked above, the 
manifestations of the dead are extremely varied. 

The following apparition, twelve hours after death, bears, 
like the preceding one, all the marks of authenticity. The. 
writer is already known to us (Volume II, pages 360-361). 
It was sent me from Miinster on April 22, 1899. 

I am a man in good health, aged forty-seven. I am straight 
and tall, moderately stout, and good-looking. I have a good appe- 
tite and sleep well. I was formerly employed in a telegraph office. 
I am a free thinker. One of my friends died on April 9, 1898, on 
the night before Easter, at six o'clock in the morning. He ap- 
peared to me in my room and began to look at all the pictures 
with war as a subject which were hung there; I had promised to 
show them to him. Some days before his death, when I told him 
that he was looking better and that a French cuirassier of 1870 
could not die before Alsace had been freed, he had answered that 
he was going to get well to see my fine pictures. I recognized him, 
though he was in a shroud and no longer had his characteristic 
mustache. He stayed for a long time looking at my pictures, then 
nodded to me in a friendly way and vanished suddenly. I was fully 
awake. I went, that very morning, to the house in which he 
had died, and found that his mouth and mustache had been covered 
with a white cloth. 

Jean Lau. 

(Letter 618.) 



152 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Judging from the writer's description of himself, it would 
be difficult to admit that there was i^ this case an hallucina- 
tion, an affection of the nerves, or an illusion caused by 
imagination. No conclusive argument could be brought for- 
ward to prove that it was impossible for a dead man's spirit 
to have paid a visit to his friend some hours after dissolution. 
There is nothing absurd, either, in the possibility that his 
image was transmitted, together with his thought. It was a 
telepathic transmission on the part of some one dead. The 
account confirms what we said in Volume II. 

Similarly, it was twelve hours after death that the curious 
incident given below occurred. It, too, was related to me at 
the beginning of my investigation, in March, 1899, in the 
following letter, written by a boy about twelve years old: 

I did not know what fear was. One of my cousins, with whom 
I had taken a walk the evening before and talked with until half- 
past nine, died suddenly at eleven o'clock. 

At four o'clock in the morning (it was in the month of August) 
I left the farm, to go to school as usual, but earlier than I generally 
did, to report his death at the town hall. 

At eleven I usually went to ring the bell and wind the clock. 
The latter was in the tower of the church. In order to reach it, 
it was necessary to climb a long spiral staircase and cross a loft 
about twenty meters long. The teacher stopped me that day and 
said to me, "If you don't want to go up alone to wind the clock 
to-day, stay down, and I '11 go myself." — "I f I said. "Why 
shouldn't I want tof 

I am telling all this to explain my state of mind at that moment. 
I remember very well that I said to myself, "How funny that the 
teacher asked me that question !" 

When I reached the loft I was, therefore, very much surprised 
to see my cousin standing there, hiding a part of the door which 
led to the clock. The light from the window in the roof fell right 
on his face. He was in his working-clothes, and was looking at 
me hard, his face a little sad. I picked up a small iron bar which 
lay on the floor, and, going forward, I threw it right at the appari- 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 153 

tion. The bar struck the door with a dull sound and the illusion — 
if it was an illusion, for your accounts make me doubt this — 
vanished. Then I wound the clock and went away. 

My cousin was on my right, in the loft, leaving me a free passage 
this time, and smiling. "This is too much!" I said out loud, as if 
to prove to myself that I was not dreaming. The phantom made 
a movement as though to raise its arms, and disappeared suddenly. 

I went downstairs quickly and told my story to the teacher, who 
said to me, "Now you '11 know what fear is." 

(Vouched for by) J. Tuequin, Instructor, 

Ardennes. 

From the evidence in the account, it would really not seem 
possible for the boy (v^ho v^as absolutely calm, whose mind 
was at rest, and who was care-free, as was natural at his age) 
to have been the dupe of an illusion — above all, one that 
occurred twice — and not to have been affected in any way; 
he regarded it merely as a curious, causeless phenomenon 
demanding investigation. The fact that he threw an iron 
bar at the phantom demonstrates that there was an utter 
absence of fear on his part. He was astonished, merely, 
and had not the least idea that this was possibly a manifesta- 
tion on the part of his friend. His was a purely automatic 
movement. This apparition, twelve hours after death, was 
spontaneous. 

Following my usual method of investigation, I asked the 
writer of the narration if the instructor of whom he speaks 
could confirm his story. I received the teacher's attestation; 
it gave me an impression that he himself had seen the appari- 
tion. 

Here is another communication, sent at that same period: 

Montbeliard, March 26, 1899. 
On a certain evening of the year 1888, my son-in-law, who was 
living in Haute-Loire, appeared to me. It was about eleven o'clock, 
and I was thoroughly awake. 



154 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

On the following day I learned that he had died on the morning 
of the previous day, at eleven o'clock. It is noteworthy that I 
had no reason to believe him ill, and that he died suddenly. 

I shall ask you to give only my initials, if you publish my letter. 

C. H. 

(Letter 210.) 

It should be pointed out that this apparition, twelve hours 
after death, occurred without the observer knowing of the 
death. 

I should like to give otnly concise, very short accounts, of 
the sort which we have just read, that I might offer a larger 
number of them; but there are cases in which details are in- 
dispensable, such as the following one. 

A dead woman who did not believe that she was dead, an- 
nounced her death ! I take from a letter sent me from Cher- 
bourg on October 10, 1921, the following: 

Madame BouUier, on a certain night (September 13-14, 1918) 
thought that she was awake, and heard some one calling her by 
name. Her first thought was: "Why, I was asleep, since I was 
dreaming." But at that moment she heard once more: "Madame 
Boullier!" Sure of being awake this time, she looked about her 
and saw, between the window and the cupboard, the bust of a 
woman which had emerged from the wall and was speaking to 
her. "Who are youf she demanded. — "You don't recognize me?" 
— "No." — "But you bought fish from me this morning, at the mar- 
ket; I am Mother Arondel." — "Oh, indeed! What would you like?" 
— "Why, I must be dead; I saw my body stretched out on the 
ground and my children around it, crying. I tried to talk to them, 
but it was no use; they didn't hear me." — "How did you die?" — 
"I flew into a temper when I was going home, and then fell down. 
I saw my body on the ground, and people all around it ; still, I 'm 
not dead !"— "Well, what would you like?"— "You must go and tell 
the people at home that I'm not dead." — "No, they would think 
I was crazy; I can't do that. Go away, my good woman." 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 155 

Then the apparition vanished, sliding sideways through the wall. 

Early the next morning Madame Boullier went to call on one 
of her neighbors, Madame Micheau, and told her of the apparition. 
They went to the market to verify the happening. A bit of paper, 
glued to her stall, announced Mother Arondel's death, and the 
other venders explained that she had died suddenly, as soon as 
she got home. 

Gaston Thorin. 

(Letter 4712.) 

I made an investigation in Cherbourg, that I might verify 
these statements, and I wish to thank the writer of the letter 
for his care in making the inquiry. Several persons took 
part in it. At the town hall the record of births and deaths 
gives, as the date of death, September 13, 1918, at one o'clock 
in the afternoon: the widow Arondel, born on February 22, 
1846. A neighboring fishwoman stated that she had seen her 
at noon, on the day of her death, when she left the market, 
and had learned upon her own return at two o'clock that 
Mother Arondel had died suddenly at one. The attestations 
are all the more convincing, so far as I am concerned, from 
the fact that I myself was in Cherbourg in September, 1918. 

In this case we must remember that the dead woman did 
not believe that she was dead ; her apparition appeared about 
twelve hours after death. 

The following manifestation proceeded, plainly, from some 
one dead, like the one above, and not from some one living or 
dying. A young man died, in Paris, on January 8, 1908, in 
the afternoon, at a hospital. His grandmother, who lived 
in Vierzon, had, on the following night, a nightmare in which 
she saw the face of her grandson, passing and repassing* 
behind the window-panes, and gazing at her. He vanished, 
and she saw him stretched out dead upon a kind of slab. 
The vision occurred ten or twelve hours after death. Let 



156 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

us listen to an account of the happening;, related by a com- 
petent judge. I am taking it from a letter written by Dr. 
Fernand, in Vierzon: 

You are, above all, seeking facts. Here is an incident which 
chance brought to my notice; it will, perhaps, be of interest to 
you. 

Let me tell you, first, that I am thirty-nine years old and that, 
personally, I have no preestablished convictions as to any phil- 
osophic system. But I am of the opinion that we do not know 
all, and that it would be contrary to scientific principles to deny 
the inexplicable. 

As a physician, I have under my care, here in Vierzon, Madame 

X , who is about seventy years old (allow me to omit her 

name). She is most intelligent, and is nervous to the point of 
having been neurotic in her youth. I am now giving her treat- 
ments for attacks of asthma. 

Upon her request, her daughter, who was living in Paris, had 
come to live with her in December, 1907. 

During the night of Wednesday to Thursday, — from the eighth 
to the ninth of last January, — about two o'clock in the morning, 
the invalid called her daughter and demanded a light, saying: 
"Light the lamp. I 've had a terrible nightmare." These were 
the only words she spoke. The following Sunday, she said to her 
daughter, "You can't have eaten much for breakfast." And, after 
her daughter had shown her astonishment: "You can't have eaten 
much, for you are suffering a gTeat deal. It's useless to keep it 
secret: your son is dead. The other night, when I called you, I 
had seen his face; it passed and repassed behind the window- 
panes, and he looked at me. Next, he disappeared, but then 
I saw Mm lying dead on a sort of slab, covered with a gray 
cloth." 

The invalid's grandson had really died on the afternoon of 
Wednesday, January 8th, in Paris, in a hospital where he had been 
treated for some time for tuberculosis of the lungs. 

This was the account given me, in the first instance, immediately 
after the happening, then subsequently on several occasions, at 
intervals some time apart. The story was related both by the 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 157 

invalid herself and her daughter, without any variations, despite 
my discreet but searching questions. 

.If I may be permitted a few more words, I should like to show 
the occurrence in all its extraordinary aspects. 

The invalid's daughter was not informed of her son's death until 
Thursday morning^ when she learned of it through a telegram. 
She did not go to Paris for the funeral and did not leave her 
mother: there was, therefore, no absence on her part which might 
have led to suspicion. She was already wearing black, and did 
not change her clothing to go into mourning. 

And, lastly, no one spoke, in the invalid's presence, of her grand- 
son; besides, his condition had seemed unchanged for some time: 
the announcement of his death was almost a surprise. 

Such was the occurrence. I am giving you a dry account of it, 
as I would of an observation made in a hospital, without relying 
in the least on imagination. Without wishing to offer an explana- 
tion, I should like to add these remarks: 

(1) The apparition corresponded to actual reality. 

(2) The description given by the grandmother was absolutely 
exact. When a death occurs in a hospital, the corpse is taken 
into a room where autopsies are performed, and placed on a long 
narrow table, usually zinc-covered, "a sort of slab." The descrip- 
tion is correct, and Madame X did not know of this particular 

detail. 

(3) There can be no question, under the circumstances, of telep- 
athy from one brain to another: the apparition occurred after 
the young man had actually died. 

(4) It would seem that we are confronted by two separate phe- 
nomena : 

(a) The replica of a dead man in Paris appeared to his grand- 
mother in Vierzon. (One detail deserves to be noted: the appari- 
tion did not enter the room, but remained behind the window- 
panes.) 

(b) The grandmother's consciousness (she was alive) seems, after 
that^ to have been borne from Vierzon to Paris, and to have seen 
the corpse. 

Dr. Fern and, 
(Letter 1823.) Vierzon, Cher. 



158 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

This double observation is so deserving of wide publicity 
that I asked the doctor if it would be indiscreet to publish it. 
Here is his answer : 

I do not think that I am betraying any professional secret, 
since I am not giving the person's name. I authorize you, there- 
fore, to make whatever use you wish of my communication, even 
with my name: I have no respect for any other than signed ac- 
counts. 

I consider that there are all possible guarantees of the veracity 
of the "observation" which I have told you of. Were the contrary 
true, I should have put no faith in it. I had the story from the 
very lips of my patient and her daughter. 

These two persons are intelligent and well educated. 

What shall we think? 

The phenomenon occurred ten or twelve hours after the 
death. The simple, direct interpretation is that the grand- 
son, who had died, thought of his grandmother and manifested 
himself (1) by showing himself to her; (2) by causing her to 
see his corpse. 

We may seek other interpretations. We may suppose that 
he thought of her before his death, and that an impression 
made by this thought remained latent in the percipient's 
mind until two o'clock in the morning. But this is more 
complicated. 

We may suppose, also, that the seer of the vision, bound 
to her grandson by a deep affinity, was borne to him in 
spirit, from Vierzon to Paris. This is all very well, but why, 
then, should she have seen him behind the window? 

Every one of my readers is, like me, free to seek an ex- 
planation. 

It seems to me that for the moment we must confine our- 
selves to recording occurrences, above all when their truth is 
as carefully established as it was in this case. Even that is 
a great deal, given the prevalent idiotic incredulity. 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 159 

Where does life end ? Where does death begin ? In Chap- 
ter X of Volume II (it is called ''Between Life and Death") 
we read how a young girl, Mademoiselle Noell, summoned her 
brother eighteen hours after her death. To quote this sum- 
mons : ' ' Louis, what are you doing ? Why don 't you come 1 ' ' 
It would seem that she uttered this just as she was dying, be- 
fore dissolution. It is through the comparative study and 
wise discussion of observations that we may enlighten our- 
selves as to their nature and their psychological meaning. 
As a matter of fact, an account of a similar, very curious 
observation was sent me, which it will be interesting to 
analyze. Its authenticity is as certain, as unquestionable as 
that of the account I have just given. Here is the narra- 
tion: 

On the evening of Saturday, May 28, 1921, and the whole of 
Sunday May 29th, I felt unwell without any apparent cause. I 
was so tired that I lay down for part of the afternoon. It was 
as if I had a weight on my shoulders, and I had a vague impression 
that something out of the ordinary, something painful was about 
to happen. The evening of the twenty-ninth, I went to bed early, 
and as soon as I fell asleep I began to dream. This lasted all 
night, and what a dream it was! I was standing near one of my 
friends, a woman living in Versailles; for two years circumstances 
had prevented my seeing her. I saw her most distinctly, lying 
upon her bed, with the bloodless face of those who have died 
after much suffering. She stretched out her arms to me, wishing 
to kiss me, but terror nailed me to the spot, and I made no move- 
ment to approach her. This filled her poor face with sadness. 
The appeals which she made for me to kiss her and her efforts 
to draw near me lasted the whole night. I awakened often, and 
each time I went to sleep again the dream began once more. It 
was a real struggle, the whole night long, to escape from this 
nightmare, to such an extent that in the morning, when I was 
quite tired and worn out, my first words to my husband, on awak- 
ening, were an account of this painful dream. I had scarcely 
finished telling him of it when the door-bell rang, and he was given 



160 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

a letter with a black border, telling of my poor friend's funeral; 
her death had occurred on the evening of Saturday the twenty- 
eighth, at nine o'clock. 

Greatly disturbed by all this, I went to Versailles on Tuesday, 
the day of her funeral. When I got there, three of her friends, 
who had been with her during her last moments, said to me, "Is 
that you, Madame David f" — "Yes," I answered. — "Well, our dear 
friend asked for you on Saturday night before she died; she asked 
several times, and repeated your name insistently!" 

Then I remembered the whole of my dream. It had really been 
an appeal from my poor friend; she had come to look for me, 
not at once but twentj^-four hours afterward. Perhaps the uneas- 
iness which I had felt on Saturday evening was an unconscious 
recording of her thought, which was seeking to stamp itself upon 
my mind. 

L. David, 
149 rue de Rennes, Paris. 

(Letter 4669.) 

This precise aceount is highly interesting. The dying 
woman thought v^ith intensity of her friend Madame David 
before she died on the evening of Saturday, May 28th. That 
evening and the whole of the next day Madame David felt 
unwell and in pain. The night of Sunday, the twentj^-ninth, 
to Monday, the thirtieth, a terrible nightmare showed her 
this person, in the guise of a living corpse ; she had not seen 
her for two years. Madame Denis had breathed her last on 
Saturday, the twenty-eight, and she was buried on Tuesday. 
Is there not unquestionable evidence in favor of a telepathic 
transmission from Madame Denis to Madame David, which be- 
gan at the hour of death and was continued the following 
day? Is not the hypothesis of chance coincidence utterly 
improbable? 

When I made my methodical investigation, Monsieur David 
(who is a state official) was kind enough to give me complete 
confirmation of all the details set forth above. 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 161 

There is no question that this was a case of telepathic trans- 
mission — transmission that was continued after death. 

The following occurrence did not have this somber aspect. 

We shall now have an account of a curious, amusing, and 
ingenuous apparition. A little girl appeared to a little boy 
eighteen hours after she had died; he did not know of her 
death. The occurrence is of special interest to us, for it 
was certainly an unusual one. I owe my knowledge of it to 
an observer with whom my readers are already familiar ^ ; 
she and her husband were good enough to make a careful, 
special investigation of this particular case, which deserves 
our undivided attention. The letter which informed me of 
the incident is worthy of being given word for word. It was 
written before the letter which we read in Volume IT. Here 
it is: 

Paris, Sunday, November 30, 1917. 

Pardon me. Master, if I monopolize your attention for a few 
minutes, to tell you of something which happened recently in my 
home. You must forgive me because of my humble desire to 
bring to your notice a bit of testimony. This, added to the thou- 
sands of other narrations of this sort already in your possession, 
will add to the information at your disposal, and aid in the 
triumph of Truth. 

One night, about two o'clock in the morning, my husband and I 
were awakened by our little boy Fernand, aged six and a half; 
he was calling to me. Since I was half asleep at that moment 
and thought that he was dreaming, I told him to go to sleep 
again; then there was silence once more. 

The next morning the child came into our room, as he usually 
did, to kiss us good morning. Then I asked him why he had been 
so disturbed in the night — what dream he had had. And here, 
without my changing a word, is the dialogue which took place 
between us: 

"Why did you call me last night f 

"I was afraid, Mamma." 

^ At the Moment of Death, p. 134: a manifestation before death. 



162 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

"Afraid? Why, my dear?" 

"A little girl was sitting at the foot of my bed." 

"A little girl! Tell me about it." 

"A little girl with a doll in her arms. She was rocking it, and 
in front of her on the table [I must add that our child sleeps in 
the dining-room, in a little iron bed, and that the table touches 
his bed] was a little basin, with a sponge; she was washing her 
doll's face." He gave me an imitation: "Just like that." 

"Ah," I said, "you were dreaming, my dear." 

"No, Mamma, I wasn't dreaming, because I did this to see if 
I was asleep [he then made a comical movement; with his little 
fingers he lifted one of his eyelids] ; my eye was open, I could 
feel that it was, and to make sure that I wasn't asleep I shook 
my bed, too, and it went click-clack. Then the little girl got up 
and walked on my bed, coming toward me. I was afraid; I called 
you and hid under the covers for a few minutes. Afterward I 
put my head out and there was nothing there any more." 

"Ah!" I said, and looked at my husband. 

"What was it? Tell me, little mother," my boy said, still fright- 
ened. 

"It was doubtless your guardian angel, my dear; he came to see 
if you were good." 

Completely reassured and full of enthusiasm, the child then asked 
me if he would come back, and added: "How pretty my guardian 
angel was! He was dressed like a little girl and had beautiful 
curls." 

Then I sent the little boy into the adjoining room. When we 
were alone, my husband and I looked at each other, though we 
were not much surprised. We had both been witnesses of an oc- 
currence of this nature when my father-in-law died. 

"That little girl," we thought, "has died. We 're going to learn 
something." 

In the afternoon I had some errands to do. I met a woman 
whom I had not seen for about ten days. Since her little girl had 
been unwell, I asked her for news of her child, and the happy 
mother gave me very good news. At that moment another woman 
came up, a friend of the first, whom I scarcely knew. Out of 
consideration I was about to move away, when I heard this person 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 163 

say: "Just think of it! What a terrible misfortune! Such a 
beautiful child!" Puzzled, I drew near her involuntarily, moved 
by I know not what curiosity, and asked whom they were speak- 
ing of. I learned in this way that the little daughter of the con- 
cierge of the first woman to whom I had spoken had died the day 
before of cerebro-spinal meningitis, which had carried the child 
off in forty-eight hours. 

I wish to tell you again, Master, that I had not seen this person 
for about ten days^ and that she alone could have told me of this 
little girl's illness. 

The mystery was then explained. The little girl was a playmate 
of my child, and many a time that summer these two children, 
who were the same age, had played together. Since winter weather 
had begun, they no longer saw each other. The darling loved to 
play with dolls, like so many other little mothers of the future, 
and she loved above all to dress and wash her baby; and it was 
in this way that the little angel, to insure recognition, came to 
say good-by to her small friend Fernand. 

Returning home, I told my husband this news, and asked my 
child if he had been able to recognize the little girl's face. I give 
his own words again : 

"Her face seemed to have a veil over it, I couldn't see it well; 
it seemed as if she had a piece of muslin over it. She was all 
white; her dress, her hair, everything about her was white." 

That, Master, was the occurrence in all its simplicity; a little 
child was the truthful and innocent witness of it. 

I shall ask you to pardon the simplicity of this poor letter, which 
(I dare not hope for anything else) will doubtless remain unan- 
swered. My only excuse for writing it is, I repeat, the fact that 
It is absolutely sincere. 

Believe me, dear Master, you have our deep and respectful ad- 
miration. 

F. Gayraud, 

(Letter 3995.) 5 rue Nobel, Paris. 

After receiving this letter, I wrote the sender of it, follow- 
ing my usual custom of making an analytical investigation. 
The narrator is the wife of Monsieur Paul Gayraud, a 



164 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

pianist, who won first prize at the Conservatory. Both of 
them were kind enough to place themselves at my disposal, 
in order to bring the inquiry to a successful conclusion. 
This is what the investigation brought out : 
It was on Wednesday, November 21, 1917, at eight o'clock 
in the morning, that the little girl died: Emilienne Blin, 
117 rue Caulaincourt. And it was on Thursday, November 
22d, at two o'clock in the morning — that is to say eighteen 
hours afterward — that little Fernand Gayraud saw her on 
his bed, at a time when her death was known neither to him 
nor to his parents. The two children were playmates.. 

ATTESTATIONS 

Paris, January 11, 1918. 

I hereby certify, Master, that the facts given by my wife are 
stated with the most rigorous exactitude. 

I wish to state that when I went home at noon, on Thursday 
November 22, 1917, my wife said to me: "I have the explanation 
of last night^s phenomenon. You know little Emilienne, that child 
who used to play so often with Fernand last summer?" 

"Yes," I said. 

"She 's dead." 

"Really! When did it happen?" 

"Yesterday. You see, she was really dead when she appeared 
that night." 

"Yes," I said, "and that gives us a great deal to think about." 

Paul Gayraud. 

We, the undersigned, certify that Monsieur and Madame Paul 
Gayraud told us the story of the apparition which their little 
boy Fernand witnessed, during the night of November 21-22, 1917, 
— an occurrence that followed the death of one of the child's play- 
mates, which had taken place on the day before and which was 
unknown to them. 

Em. Boulanger, E. Prud'homme, M. Forcin, 

18 r. Saint-Jean, 10 r. Custine. 72 r. Lamarck. 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 165 

The inquiry made at the town hall, apart from the pre- 
ceding communications, brought out the fact that the little 
girl in question was Emilienne Blin, 117 rue Caulaincourt, 
who died on Wednesday, November 21st, at eight o'clock in 
the morning. 

There is no doubt, therefore, that eighteen hours after her 
death she appeared to Fernand, her little playmate. What 
was the nature of the apparition ? She did not go to him, sit 
down at the foot of the bed, and wash her doll's face. But 
she influenced the little boy's mind. How did she do this? 
Did she think of him when she was dying, and did her image 
reach the child's brain and remain latent there for eighteen 
hours? This is a defensible hypothesis, but one that has 
not been proved. It would seem more probable that the 
influence was exerted after death ; that it was a communication 
from mind to mind which took the usual form of an image 
of the little girl. 

Let us repeat, for the hundredth time, that the impossibility 
of explaining a thing does not in the least lessen its reality. 

There is a considerable number, relatively, of manifestations 
of the dead on the first day of their life after death. They 
alone would suffice to make up a volume such as this one. 
I can give merely the outstanding ones, and my only regret 
is that I must omit too many. For example, I should regret 
not to tell here how Madame Juliette Adam, so well known 
and so esteemed by all French people ^ (she is the charming 
author of "Payenne" — "Pagan"), came to write ''Chre- 
tienne" — '^ Christian" — through being converted by a mani- 
festation on the part of Madame Blavatsky on the very day 
of the latter 's death (May 8, 1891). I numbered among my 
acquaintances the Duchess of Pomar, at whose home I gave 
some lectures, as did our friend A. de Rochas. She threw 

iMy readers are already familiar with an observation made by her 
in 1898 {L'Inconnu, p. 187). 



166 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

herself into spiritualistic experiments with a certain fervent 
enthusiasm. But let us listen to Madame Adam: 

I had a habit of never going out in the evening without glanc- 
ing rapidly through the latest news in the "Temps." Well, when 
I had opened that newspaper on one occasion, before going to the 
home of the Duchess of Pomar (she had promised to introduce us 
to an astonishing medium) I was struck to see an announcement 
of Madame Blavatsky^s death; it seemed to me to be printed in 
huge letters. I attached no further importance to it, and went on 
to the evening meeting. 

We began the seance; one of those present called off the letters 
of the alphabet. There was a rapping, and the name rapped out 
was Blavatsky. 

"That 's impossible," cried the duchess. "I left her only three 
days ago!" 

I remained silent; the medium insisted that the communication 
had been authentic. Madame Blavatsky returned, and dictated: 
"I am dead; I left a will with Colonel Olcott, in which I ask to 
be cremated. Cremation, as it is practised in India, in the open 
air, is in conformity with religious precepts, but it is done in an 
oven here, and means a loss of one's psychic personality. I implore 
you to write to Colonel Olcott not to have me cremated, though 
I have a presentiment that you will not succeed. However, I was 
determined to tell you this, in order that I might save a soul: that 
of Madame Adam; fifteen days ago she made a will in which she, 
too, asked to be cremated. 

And was this true? 

Absolutely, though none of the persons present could be aware 
of the circumstance. 

Madame Blavatsky was cremated in London, where she 
died. There is, in the preceding statement, a curious con- 
fusion between the soul and the fluid body. 

The Duchess of Pomar, whom all occultists knew, lost the 
sense of direction requisite in following the path of this re- 
search. She believed that she was the reincarnation of Mary 



ONE TO TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER DEATH 167 

Stuart, and nevertheless used to invoke the unfortunate 
Scotch queen's spirit! We have not the space in which to 
wander amidst these memories, and our next chapter urgently 
demands our attention. It will be a continuation of the 
present one, and will be given over to manifestations observed 
from one day to one week after death. 

It would seem to me that in the face of the occurrences of 
which we have just read, no impartial reader can remain in- 
different or undecided. 



VI 



MANIFESTATIONS AND APPARITIONS FROM ONE DAY TO 
ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 

Death dominates all of the living. 

AUGUSTE COMTE. 

LET US continue to investigate posthumous manifesta- 
tions, classifying them as we have done heretofore. 
Let us consider those which occurred the first week 
after death, from one to eight days. Like the preceding 
ones, they are very numerous. 

The author of that great work, well known to my readers, 
''Phantasms of the Living," states, after patient and long- 
continued research, that the interval between the sending 
of a psychic message and the time that it is received would 
appear never to exceed twelve hours. This would lead us to 
conclude that the apparitions and manifestations observed 
after that length of time are not delayed communications 
from the living, but are caused by the dead. This is true 
of all the accounts which are to follow. 

We are now about to read of the apparition of a dead 
woman seen by two persons on the day after her death. I 
am taking the following account from a letter sent me from 
Italy on July 16, 1899 : 

In an article in the newspaper "La Stampa," dealing with the 
investigations which you are making public, I read that you would 
be happy to learn of occurrences similar to those which you are 
studying, and I feel that it is my duty to tell you of the following' 
one. It is absolutely authentic. 

One evening, about nine o'clock, every one in the house was still 

168 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 169 

up and about. When my sister, aged seventeen, was walking 
through a hall of the apartment, she was stupefied to see a tall, 
beautiful girl standing near her under the lighted gas-jet. She 
did not know this girl, who was dressed in the costume of a peas- 
ant. Astounded, she uttered a cry, and the phantom vanished. 
She wept with fright, and my mother scolded her. Next morning, 
the cook, a girl of about twenty-five, came to my mother and told 
her that that evening, when she had got into bed, she had heard 
a sound of breathing, and felt on her face something that was 
like a breath; that when she had opened her eyes she had seen, 
standing near her bed, one of her friends whom she had known 
in her native place: a tall, beautiful girl dressed in peasant cos- 
tume. "That beautiful girl," said the cook, "was in the habit of 
behaving badly; I often gave her good advice, but it didn't have 
any effect." She had died on the previous day. 

Countess Amelie Caeandini, 
Parella, Province of Turin. 
(Letter 751.) 

People believe that they can find a way out by calling such 
visions causeless hallucinations. But in this case there were 
two independent manifestations. The numerous, successive 
pictures which our inquiry reveals show that we can no longer 
be content with this childish explanation. 

In 1915 Jules Lermina, the writer, sent me the following 
account. It had been sent to him from Brussels by a lady 
to whose family he was related. 

I saw one of my relatives on April 4, 1878, and spoke to him, 
though he had died in an accident the day before; I did not know 
of Ms death. The incident was odd enough for me to recount it 
as faithfully as possible. 

Absolutely contrary to my habit, I had left the table during 
dinner — that is to say about half-past six in the evening — to go 
into the kitchen to get something or other which the servant had 
forgotten. When I was bending down in front of a cupboard 
where china was kept, and had put out my hand to take up a 



170 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

dish for stewed fruit which was not in its proper place on the 
shelf, I was called by name and recognized my cousin's voice. I 
lifted my eyes toward the window of the kitchen (it was partially 
underground) and did actually see my cousin, bending down to the 
window. He nodded and said several times, "Good-day, Louie." 
He usually said this when he saw me. "Good-day, Wenand," I 
answered. Springing up, I left in the cupboard the thing I had 
come for. I went upstairs to the ground floor and myself opened 
the street door, but there was no one there. 

My father, who was in the dining-room, was astonished to hear 
the door opened, though no one had rung the bell. He left the 
room and went into the hallway to see what was going on. I 
explained to him that my cousin had arrived, and even added that 
he was doubtless hiding, to tease me. But my father answered: 
''It's impossible for Wenand to be here! He died yesterday. I 
did n't want to tell you." 

In short, I saw a person who had been dead for twenty-four 
hours, and spoke to him. I was neither depressed nor ill when 
I had this vision; I had not a trace of fever. 

Lermina, extremely v^^ell versed in this sort of happenings, 
classified the experience as v^e have classified all those of the 
kind with which we are familiar. There were in this case 
two phenomena: the dead person's words and the apparition. 
Here is something still more remarkable. A murdered man 
appeared to his wife and to his mother, and told of a physical 
peculiarity of the assassin.^ 

Count Ubaldo Beni had been living for some months in the lit- 
tle commune of Pietra Montecorvino, as manager of the smelting- 
works. 

In this work Count Beni employed young Garibaldi Veneziani, 
the son of the station-master in Lucera. It was the young man's 
duty to take charge of the sums of money which reached the rail- 
way station, destined for the company. That he might do this, 

1 See Anrvales des Sciences psychiques, 1919, p. 67. 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 171 

Count Beni gave him receipts with the space for the signature 
left blank. 

In the month of May, 1916, Veneziani kept nine hundred francs 
out of the twelve hundred which he had received in Count Beni's 
name. It was not long before the latter learned of this fraudulent 
appropriation, and there followed lively scenes between the man- 
ager and the faithless employee. 

After this incident Count Beni distrusted his subordinate. The 
latter, knowing that the count intended to give up the manager- 
ship, wished to succeed him. He was able to arrange things so 
cleverly that during the latter half of August, two days before 
the manager left, he was put in his place, provisionally. Unfor- 
tunately for Veneziani, the count, before leaving, stopped at the 
Lucera station and took the opportunity to look over his succes- 
sor's books. 

On August 24, 1916, Count Beni went to Lucera to sell a horse. 
About eight o'clock in the evening he left in a cabriolet, to go 
back to Pietra Monteeorvino. He was accompanied by Veneziani, 
who rode beside his vehicle on a bicycle, along a part of the road, 
and then turned back to go to Lucera. 

Th€ morning of the next day, passers-by found the count's body 
covered with wounds, on the road from Lucera to Pietra, near a 
little wood. He had, still on him, his watch, hanging by its chain, 
and his pocket-book containing twenty lira. 

The spot in which the body was found was only some hundreds 
of meters away from the point where Veneziani declared that he 
had left his companion and gone back to Lucera. It was not long 
before suspicion attached to the employee, and an investigation 
brought out the fact that he had cashed various money-orders, 
amounting in all to sixteen hundred lira, and said not a word 
about it. At first he denied the embezzlement. They put the 
post-of&ee receipts before him; confronted by the evidence, he was 
obliged to confess that he had taken the money and kept it, while 
pretending to have given it to the count some days before his 
death. 

Veneziani was arrested, charged with homicide and embezzle- 
ment of funds. The legal inquiry was nearing its end, when the 



172 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

presiding magistrate received from the commissary of police in 
Spoleto, Umbria (where the members of the Beni family lived), 
a note and two letters, one from Countess Anne Beni-Gasparini, 
the widow, and the other from Countess Catherine Beni, the vic- 
tim's mother. Here are these two documents: 

"I hereby declare that on the night of the twenty-fourth of this 
month, when I was anxiously awaiting Ubaldo's return, I saw 
my husband before me. He said: 'Look! The reins of my horse 
have been taken from my hands. Look for the traitor. The guilty 
man has a spot on his eyeball.* On the morning of the next day 
I spoke of the vision to Signora Philomene Ramponi, in Pietra 
Montecorvino ; I also told Prince Strozzi, of Florence, about it. 

"Anne Beni." 

"On the night of the twenty-sixth of this month I am certain 
that I saw, enacted before my very eyes, the crime which meant 
the death of my poor son Ubaldo. It seemed to me that I saw 
him approaching in his cabriolet, on a deserted road; then he was 
attacked. The assailant was peculiarly marked; he had a spot on 
his eyeball. My poor son, who fell to the road, made a slight 
movement. Then the assassin fled precipitately. 

"Catherine Beni.'* 

In short. Countess Beni-Gasparini and the countess mother saw 
the same vision, with the characteristic detail of the spot upon 
the eyeball. The first saw the vision the day after the crime, the 
second two days afterward, at a time when she did not yet know 
all the details of the drama. 

When v^e try to account for the nature of the phenomenon, 
we may think at first that we have a case of double telepathy, 
in which Count Beni was the ''agent" at the moment when 
he was assassinated, and thought of his wife. But it is diffi- 
cult to admit that this hypothesis would cover the countess 
mother's vision; she had it two days after the crime, which 
had been committed five hundred kilometers away. 

"We may also suppose that after the widow saw the vision 
in Lucera, she transmitted it, by means of telepathy, to her 
mother-in-law in Spoleto. But how complicated that is ! 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 173 

Since the countess mother's vision occurred two days after 
the crime, it was a post-mortem manifestation on the part of 
the victim. The dead man, as though to prove the assassin's 
identity indirectly, furnished a detail unknown to the per- 
cipient and those with her, the spot upon the eyeball. If 
he had restricted himself to giving the assassin's name, the 
proof would have been debatable, since public opinion had 
already selected Veneziani as the guilty man.^ 

In making my usual investigation I had recourse to a native 
of Lucera — my learned friend Dr. Lastaria, a member of the 
Astronomical Society of France. He had completely verified 
the accounts of the various phases of the drama, and sent me 
the attorney generaVs declaration. (Letter 4732.) It would 
be out of place here, it seems to me, to publish all the attesta- 
tions. I think after so many cases, so completely in agree^ 
ment, my readers are well enough informed not to wish for 
useless phrases. 

We are always trying to explain such occurrences by 
attributing them to human faculties; but there are cases in 
which the explanation is (unacceptable. Monsieur Bieni's 
wife and his mother saw the crime. Let us admit that there 
was thought-transmission from the count to his wife and his 
mother. But what shall we make of the fact that two days 
after the crime the victim spoke of the spot on Veneziani 's. 
eyeball ? 

We gave on page 70 an example of manifestations follow- 
ing previous promises. This was the case of Monsieur 
Stepanow: a window was broken and a clock made to strike 
more slowly. We asked ourselves whether these were not 
mere fortuitous coincidences, and how much could be attrib- 
uted to chance. Let us always be on our guard against illu- 

1 G. Veneziani was condemned, by the Court of Assize, to twenty-one 
years of imprisonment. His appeal to the Court of Cassation was re- 
jected. 



174 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

sions ! Plainly the narrator was sufficiently impressed by the 
manifestation to have described it in the words which we read. 
If father and son had previously designated the window and 
the clock, chance could not have played any great part. All 
the occurrences set down here are scrutinized with the great- 
est care. 

We are making our investigation in a painstaking, critical 
spirit. In regard to this scientific discussion, I should like 
to warn my readers against certain statements which the 
newspapers often put into my mouth. I shall ask them to 
consider authentic only those statements signed by me, and 
not those which may be attributed to me. 

An account of the following manifestation on the part of 
some one dead was sent me from Florence on November 9, 
1920, by Madame J. de Vasconcellos : 

On January 15, 1915, at ten minutes to three in the morning, 
I lost my brother, aged forty-one. His was a master mind, be- 
cause of his great intelligence, and he was a confirmed idealist. 
His ilhiess lasted twenty years! He had lung trouble; his heart 
weakened, and he passed away suddenly. During the last months 
of his illness he often discussed the question of immortality; he 
believed in a future life rather by reason of that instinct inherent 
in every superior nature than because of any rehgious conviction. 

During the night of the second day after his death, at an hour 
corresponding to that of his demise — ten minutes to three in the 
morning — I was awakened by a loud noise near my bed. The room 
was lighted by electricity, and the noise came from the combination 
washstand and chest of drawers a meter from my bed. It was 
one of the handles of the chest of drawers which was striking 
distinct and very loud blows! I did not have the courage to look 
at once in the direction of these blows. After a few minutes they 
began again. I turned my head, very much agitated. The blows 
ceased, but I no longer had the courage to keep on looking, and 
turned over on my back once more. Several times there was a 
repetition of the blows, and immediately, emanating from this part 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 175 

of the chest of drawers, a fluid in violent motion (I shall never 
forget the strange sound it made) passed over the whole of my 
bed, and flowed to the end of the room. When this strong current 
was flowing by (I cannot describe it, since it was not of the 
nature of air) I had the impression that my bed was about to 
fall to pieces; the continuous cracking noises were so loud and 
so violent that a Belgian lady and gentleman who were in the 
room next mine were awakened, and I heard them cry out, "What 's 
that?" The current passed over my bed a second time, moving 
in the direction of the chest of drawers, and once more one of 
the handles struck, clearly, several loud blows, as though it had 
been seized by an invisible hand. I could not go to sleep again. 
In the morning my chambermaid, before I had spoken to her of 
the phenomenon, told me that about three o'clock some one had 
tried to open her door; that she had lighted the light and asked 
who was there, but had received no reply. I do not doubt that 
it was my brother's spirit seeking to manifest itself; wishing to 
give me a proof of survival. 

J. DE VaSCONCELLOS. 

(Letter 4306.) 

What a prodigious variety there is in all these happenings ! 
And people claim to knov^ the laws of nature ! The dis- 
turbances, which seem to be electrical, astonish us by their 
trivial nature. But we should try to find out how spirits 
may draw attention to themselves; the means at their dis- 
posal are not, perhaps, numerous. 

The foregoing manifestation was observed two days after 
dissolution. I have before me a great number following, like 
it, almost immediately after death. Such is, among others, 
the strange statement which I shall now give ; it was sent me 
at the period of my general inquiry (1899) : 

A friend of my father had just died. The evening of the funeral, 
my father, my mother, myself, and two of the younger children 
(the youngest of us was at least fifteen) were gathered together 
for the evening meal. We were talking of the friend who was 



176 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

gone, when we heard a strange and very loud noise, which seemed 
to come from the attic. From that day on, from nightfall until 
dawn, this noise continued, growing louder, if anything, and this 
lasted for twenty consecutive nights. We could hardly sleep at all 
except during the day. It became very tedious, not to say unbear- 
able. I need not tell you that we tried in every imaginable way 
to find the cause of the strange racket, but without success. 

At last my mother resolved to have recourse to the "super- 
natural," and without telling any one, for fear my father would 
make fun of her, she sought out a parish priest and asked him 
to say masses for the dead man. After this act of faith we heard 
nothing more. 

Judging from what I have read in your books and heard from 
your lips, you do not admit the supernatural, you acknowledge the 
truth of no religion, and you do not believe that God can have 
revealed himself to Man in any perceptible way. I conclude, there- 
fore, that you will not admit that my ghost-story is possible, be- 
cause it was an act of faith in the supernatural which brought 
about the cessation of the noise. 

The Widov^ Montceny, 
8 rue des Anges, Lyon-Saint-Just. 

(Letter 136.) 

I am, above all, sincere, and I am making this letter public 
with the v^ish that it, like all the others, should serve to en- 
lighten us. 

The circumstance that the masses for the dead man brought 
about the cessation of the noise does not keep me from admit- 
ting that the noises were really heard. Before Christianity, 
when the mass did not exist, the pagans observed the same 
phenomena. (See the letter from Pliny the Younger, 
Valerius Maximus — Simonides, I, 7, etc.) We are not 
obliged, for all that, to admit the supernatural, for all must 
be included in nature. Let us deny nothing. I am submit- 
ting everything in these pages to my readers' judgment. A 
dead man may continue to believe in the efficacy of prayer. 
Moreover, have we not gained an impression that the manif es- 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 177 

tations of the dead are connected with the minds of the living ? 
Are not spiritualism and animism related? 

An account of an apparition on the day of burial was given 
by Mrs. Blackwell in the *' Revue scientifique et morale du 
Spiritisme" and in the ''Revue des Etudes psychiques." 
iWe have often been halted, in explaining these happenings, 
by the idea that possibly they may have been hallucinations 
— which are of frequent occurrence, by the way — and I, for 
my part, have eliminated a large number of such cases from 
my notes. But there are limits. Where do cases of sub- 
jective hallucinations stop — ^hallucinations without exterior 
causes? When we read of the following occurrence, do we 
not feel that it was a real phenomenon ? Here is the strange 
story : 

During the afternoon of Friday, March 1, 1901, my chamber- 
maid's mother-in-law died of cancer, in the hospital. I had never 
seen the old woman, had no idea how she looked, and had never 
heard her given name spoken. My chambermaid, when she re- 
ferred to her, always called her "my mother-in-law." 

The burial was on the next day, Saturday, in the afternoon. 
About six o'clock in the evening, on that same Saturday, I was 
reading in my room and I was, one might say, alone in the house, 
for my husband had gone out and the servants were all in the 
basement, two floors below. During half an hour or more I heard 
repeatedly, very loud blows, sometimes one, sometimes several in 
rapid succession. And there were various noises of objects being 
dragged about in the very room in which I was. I lifted my head 
every few moments, thinking each time that I would see some one, 
although I am accustomed to hearing noises of this sort. Several 
times, also, I heard steps in the hallway, as though some one were 
going into the dressing-room adjoining my room, and then going 
out again. Twice I ran to the door and opened it suddenly: there 
was absolutely no one either in the halls, or at the head of the stairs, 
or on the stairway. The door of the dressing-room giving on the 
hall was closed. There was no one anyv^here. 

After dinner, when my husband and I were in the drawing-room, 



178 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

my chambermaid came to tell me that she had come back. She 
told me that the funeral had gone off very well, that the sisters 
in the hospital had been very kind, that they had put a pillow 
in the coffin and had wrapped the body in fine cloth. She left the 
drawing-room without adding any other details, and some mo- 
ments later a young girl, a friend of ours, came to spend the 
evening with us. Shortly afterward, about half-past nine, I saw, 
suddenly^ a vague form some distance away, on the other side of 
the drawing-room. At once I tried to draw my husband's and my 
friend's attention to it, but they saw nothing. 

Little by little, the contours of this form grew more sharply 
defined, and soon I saw it clearly, distinctly. It was so opaque 
that the furniture behind it was completely hidden, as though by 
a body that was really material. 

The form seemed to be that of an old woman, with very bright, 
very piercing eyes, a rather pointed nose, and gray hair, darker 
over her forehead. At first her dress seemed to be black, but I 
soon saw that it was turning to a dark blue. On her head she 
wore a handkerchief, apparently of silk; it was decorated with 
little squares, some of them red. Her first movement was to 
raise her hand to her head, and to throw her handkerchief back, 
letting it fall upon her neck, where it remained Ijke a kerchief 
carelessly fastened. 

My husband and I spoke to her in English, but apparently she 
did not understand us, though her glances seemed to question us 
anxiously. Then we spoke to her in French. This time she be- 
came greatly excited, and appeared to answer us volubly, but I 
was not able to hear the words. Though she was invisible to the 
two other witnesses of this scene, she appeared to see and hear them. 
My friend had a feeling of oppression or of suffocation, as though 
there were some disagreeable presence there. I spoke to the 
shade, but without being able to hear her reply; this seemed to 
irritate her. At length my friend suggested that it might be 

Madame M , the chambermaid's mother-in-law. The shade 

nodded briskly, meaning "Yes." Then I could distinguish some 
sounds, and at last I understood the word "Clemence." — "Is that 
your name?" I asked. "Yes," she nodded. "Then," said my 
friend, "it can't be Madame M- , for I saw her name in the 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 179 

death notices, in the newspaper, and the name was Marthe M ." 

(I had not seen the newspaper.) The shade inclined her head in 
affirmation. Questioning her, I learned that she had two names. 
Then I discovered that she had come to ask something of us, that 
she did not know that she was dead, though she realized that she 
had been at her own funeral that very afternoon. When I asked 
her if she regretted having been harsh to her daughter-in-law, she 
signified by a gesture that she did not. She answered all my ques- 
tions with motions of her head; but then I heard the word "plum." 
Recalling that my chambermaid had told me she often took plums 
to her, I asked her if she wished some. With a movement of her 
head she told me, "No." Then my husband guessed, after several 
attempts, that she wished to say, "A plum-colored dress." She 
seemed very happy. Yes, that was it. I asked her if she wished 
to make a gift, to some one, of a plum-colored dress. She gave 
me to understand, by pointing to herself with her finger, and by 
repeated gestures, that she wished the dress for herself. We tried 
to explain her new state to her, but in vain. I wished to approach 
her, but the form grew vague and seemed to tremble violently. 
At last she disappeared, little by little, from my sight. During the 
whole of this scene the drawing-room was brilliantly lighted with 
electricity. 

That very evening, when I went up to go to bed, I began to 
speak to my chambermaid about her mother-in-law. I told her 
that my friend had seen her name in the death notices — "Marthe 
M " and I asked her if this were her only name. She an- 
swered, at once, that she had two, Marthe and Clemence, and that 
her mother-in-law herself had always preferred the name Clemence. 

I then asked her if she had seen her after she had been dressed 
for the grave — how she looked, etc. She told me that she had ar- 
rived too late, but that her sister and her husband, the old woman's 
son, had told her that her mother-in-law had been very well attired; 
that the sisters in the hospital had put a dark-blue dress on her. 
She thought, too, that a cotton handkerchief with red squares had 
been put on her head, and that a rosary had been placed in her 
hand. It took me a long time to discover, among the mass of 
details of all sorts, the fact that the old woman was seventy-two, 
that her hair was gray but that she had had a habit of dyeing it 



180 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

in front with cosmetics; that she had bright eyes; that she had 
left furniture which, naturally, belonged to her son, Julie's hus- 
band; but that her dresses were all very old and were really not 
worth the trouble of keeping, with the exception of two, one black 
and the other plum-colored. Both of these were almost new, and 
the old woman had set great store by them, particularly the last. 
The next morning my husband questioned Julie closely on this 
subject, giving as a reason his interest in such minute details. 
He said that, as a doctor, he wished to know how things were 
conducted in such cases in the hospital. He got her to talk, in 
this way, until she had repeated to him all that she had told me. 

Dora Blackwell. 

Witnesses: Miss A. Bird; M.P.D. Wise; Lady Blackwell; Dr. 
A. Blackwell.i 

While taking into account the caution which bids us make 
allowance for illusions, autosuggestion, and hallucinations, 
would it not seem to every impartial reader that the reality 
of the foregoing apparition is certain? The observer is a 
sensitive. But why these trivial matters? Why should a 
dead woman wish for her dress? Naturally, we attribute 
such things to the minds of those who tell these stories, but 
the narrator knew nothing about it. What then ? The dead 
woman thought that she was still alive. Plainly, it would 
be simpler to deny the whole thing. But can we? Should 
we? And then, have we not accounts of other, similar hap- 
penings? Did we not see above (page 154) that ''Mother 
Arondel" of Cherbourg thought she was not dead? 

The following occurrence, too, concerns a dead person 
buried in garments which the observer of the phenomenon 
had never seen. An account of it was sent me from Vence, 
Alpes-Maritimes, in April, 1921, by a most scholarly man. 
He was seeking knowledge, but was little disposed to admit 

1 Revue des Etudes psychiques, De Vesme, July, 1902. 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 181 

that there is a future life, above all '^ because we can con- 
ceive of neither the form nor the duration of life beyond 
the grave." Nevertheless he was convinced that a dead 
woman was seen in the cemetery where she had been buried. 

I was then living in Paris, in the rue Mazagran, in the same 
house with the Bilger family. Madame Bilger had lost her mother, 
who had been living, with her other children, in Saint-Rambert- 
sur-Rhone, and who had succumbed to a very short illness. Ma- 
dame Bilger learned of the death and the illness simultaneously. 

She went to Saint-Rambert some days afterward. Upon her 
arrival, she asked one of her sisters-in-law to go with her to the 
cemetery. When she arrived at the grave, what was her surprise 
to see her mother before her, in the garments she had been buried 
in ! The garments were rather poor in quality, and were quite 
worn out. Madame Bilger protested against this to her sister-in- 
law, who said that her description was correct. She offered the 
excuse that it was useless to put new garments on some one dead. 

COURTON, 

Place Nationale, Vence. 
(Letter 4479.) 

The author expressed to me his conviction of Madame 
Bilger 's absolute sincerity. It is impossible to concede that 
there was any illusion on her part, because she did not know 
what had happened. May we think that the dead woman's 
image was in the sister-in-law's mind, and showed itself to 
Madame Bilger ? But this is only a supposition. Is it really 
logical to try always to rule out the direct explanation? 
Would it not seem that the dead woman herself caused the 
apparition? Let us investigate without prejudice. Out of 
all this a new science will be built. 

Let us continue to record here the phenomena observed 
during the first week after death. The two which follow 
occurred two days after dissolution. 



182 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Prinoess de Montarcy gave me an account of the following 
personal experience (her letter was dated December 10, 
1920) : 

(1) My grandmother had always said to me, "If you're not 
with me when I die, I '11 let you know I 'm dead." When I was 
in Monte Carlo in May, 1886, I received a telegram from my 
cousin informing me that my grandmother was ill, and asking me 
to come without delay. It was one o'clock, and I could not leave 
until six. At four o'clock another telegram informed me that she 
was better. I decided to take the train that left at eight o'clock 
the next morning. That same evening I went to bed at seven 
o'clock. At nine o'clock my little dog jumped up on my bed, 
howling as if he were being killed. I looked and saw (the lamp 
was lighted) at the foot of my bed, my grandmother, just as I 
had seen her last, but pale. She threw me a kiss, and disappeared. 
The following morning, at seven o'clock, I was brought a telegram 
announcing that she had died between eight and nine in the 
evening. 

(2) At twenty I was engaged to a Hungarian count; we loved 

each other dearly. But my "mother," the Duchess of B (I 

was an adopted daughter), had other plans for me, and she took 
me to Rome, where some days later she told me that the count 
had broken off the engagement. I answered that I did not believe 
this. As a result of anxiety I fell ill in Rome, and, as soon as 
I was better, was taken to Spa. On September 30th, having been 
most unwell for two days, I was in bed, reading, when I heard my 
name spoken in a dying voice. I looked up involuntarily, and saw 
the count, dead and stretched out on the floor (he had on white 
trousers, a blue shirt, and was without a vest), with a small bottle 
in one hand and my photograph in the other. I uttered a cry. 
The chambermaid came in with the newspapers from Paris. I 
opened the "Gil Bias," a newspaper which I never read, and saw on 
the first page that the count had been found in his room, dead from 
morphine poisoning, on September 28th. 

These two experiences made an impression which will last all my 
life. 

(Letter 4342.) Princess de Montarcy. 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 183 

It is not always easy to make inquiries as to the authentic- 
ity of the occurrences related. Plainly, we may remain in- 
credulous as to many stories. What is there to prove that 
the writer of this narration is not deceiving me? Historical 
certainty is not like scientific certainty. If you tell a friend 
that you ate fish for your breakfast this morning, he is not 
compelled to believe you. But why would you tell him this 
if it were not true? Is lying universal? I do not believe 
it is. In any case, often it is inadmissible that lies have 
been told. 

The following statements are bound up with the ingenuous 
impressions of childhood. They are full of such good faith 
and such complete conviction; they bear each other out so 
well and are told with such simplicity that they plead with 
especial emphasis on behalf of life after death. Here are 
some extracts from a long letter : 

Ben-Danoun-Kouba, Algiers, 
July 20, 1899. 

My husband, one of the best and most intelligent men who ever 
hved, had promised me that if he departed this life before I did he 
would certainly come and give me some positive sign as to his life 
beyond the grave, if it were possible. While in perfect health he 
had a sunstroke, which carried him off in a few days. He died on 
October 10, 1898. We were Uvmg in the country, in the house 
where we now are. The family consisted of my husband, myself, 
and my daughter, a very young widow, with three little children 
(boys), two years and a half, three, and five years old. In the 
course of the cruel days which ended in my husband's death, friends 
took charge of the children and took them away, and the fact that 
their grandfather had died was concealed from them. Guy, the 
youngest of the three, was at the table with our friends on the day 
of the burial, toward noon, when suddenly he stood up in his chair 
and said : "There 's grandpa, there in the window. Look !" He 
wished to leave the table and go toward the window. 

He was two years and six months old; not only did he not knoio 
of his grandfather's death but he had no conception of death. 



184 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

The next morning I heard him, in the room adjoining mine, 
making happy sounds; jumping, laughing, calling: "Grandpapa! 
Grandpapa!" Annoyed, I went out to make him stop. But he kept 
on clapping his hands and laughing, and he said to me: "Look 
how pretty grandfather is! He's all white and he's making a 
light." My daughter-in-law and the servants who had come, brought 
by the noise, were astonished. They asked him if he really saw his 
grandfather. The child seemed not to understand that we did not 
see him. '^But there he is! He's there !'^ he cried, and lifted his 
eyes to about the height at which a man's face would have been. 
Then, after a moment, he looked up and said, ^'Why, he 's gone 
away !" 

Eight months later, Guy, who was then three years and two 
months old, saw the same apparition for the third time. My hus- 
band had often told me of a beautiful spot, near La Motte-les-Bains, 
in the Alps of Dauphine, and he wished very much to take me there. 

In the month of June following his death I went to spend the 
summer in La Motte, with my daughter, her three children, and their 
nurse. In memory of my husband, I wished to visit the spot which 
had pleased him so, and one morning we all went there together. 
It is, indeed, an ideal mountain haunt, delightfully wooded, full of 
flowers, strawberries, and wild raspberries. Raymond, the eldest of 
the children, began to pick strawberries for his mother. Etienne 
brought me raspberries. Then little Guy said to me, '^I'm picking 
flowers for grandpapa.'' Raymond cried, "How can you give them 
to him, since he 's dead !" Guy seemed very much surprised, and 
answered, "Why, he 's there ; I 'm giving him my hand." After 
some moments he said sadly, "He's not there any longer; he's 
gone." 

I can vouch, dear Master, for the perfect exactitude of this ac- 
count. The three children were too young to remember the incidents, 
but they made an unforgettable impression on my daughter, the 
nurse, and me. 

The question of the immortality of the soul is, as you say, very 
serious, and everything connected with it deserves to be considered 
earnestly and in good faith, without distortion or "stage-setting." 
If you and the other men of science, who spend your time in col- 
lecting and verifying these manifestations, succeed in establishing 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 185 

the truth of them, ineontestably and beyond all doubt, what a service 
you will render humanity! The absolute certainty of a future life 
and the persistence of a personal individuality would stop crime and 
lying, and those who are weeping for their beloved dead would 
cease to weep for them. The gratitude of those who are already 
convinced is due you, and you have it. Be so kind as to accept this 
sincere gratitude. 

Anne E. Carriere. 
(Letter 750.) 

The fact that this child, two and a half years old, saw his 
grandfather, would seem to me to plead effectively against 
the hypothesis of hallucinations. The little innocent knew 
nothing about anything, had no conception of death, and 
saw his grandfather as if he had been before him. We can- 
not disdain all this. 

The following occurrence makes a similar impression on us. 
It was taken from the ' 'Proceedings" of the English Society 
for Psychical Research (Volume XI, page 428) and was in- 
vestigated by Bozzano as a case of auto-premonition on the 
part of a child two years and seven months old. His little 
brother, who had died when eight months old, appeared to 
him. In the following words the mother told of the appari- 
tions ^ : 

Is there a life beyond the grave? If I had doubted that there 
is, my doubts would have been banished by the "visions" of which 
I was a witness. 

In 18S3 I was the happy mother of two beautiful and vigorous 
children. The elder was two years and seven months old; the other 
was a little angel eight months old. I lost him on August 6, 1883, 
and was left with little Ray, who was then enjoying perfect health. 
Nevertheless, after the day on which his little brother died, he ac- 
quired a habit of saying to me several times a day, "Mamma, little 
brother ^s calling Ray." He would often interrupt his play and 

^Annates des Sciences psychiques, 1912, p. 301, 



186 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

run to me, calling out his habitual sentence, "Mamma, little brother 
keeps on calling Ray." And during the night, he would wake me 
up and repeat the same words: "Mamma, little brother's really 
calling Ray ; he wants to have him with him. But you 're crying ! 
Why? You mustn't cry when Ray goes away with little brother, 
because little brother wants him to." 

One day when I was having the drawing-room cleaned, he came 
running out of the dining-room, where the chair stood which had 
belonged to his little dead brother. I had never seen him so excited ; 
he seized the hem of my skirt, and drew me toward the dining-room, 
crying: "Mamma, Mamma, come quickly and see little brother 
sitting in his chair." Just as he was opening the door to show him 
to me, he cried, "Oh, Mamma, you ought to have come faster. He 
isn't there any more! If you'd seen how he smiled at Ray when 
Ray passed near him! Ray's going away with him; but you 
mustn't cry. Mamma." 

A short time afterward our little child fell seriously ill; our care 
and our tears were unavailing. On October 13, 1883, two montlis 
and seven days after his brother's death, he died also. His intelli- 
gence was developed far beyond his years. 

As I read these accounts I admit that I am unable to 
understand how people can make fun of them and call them 
fabrications. 

Dr. Hodgson wrote to the narrator and received the fol- 
lowing confirmation: 

I have only to guarantee the truth in every detail, of what Mr. 
Kingsbury published in the "Religio-Philosophical Journal." 
When the child came running to tell me that his little brother was 
sitting in the chair which had been his, there was no one else in the 
house but the maid-servant, to whom I said nothing. But when my 
husband came back for lunch, I told him what had happened. On 
that same day I related the episode to some women who were friends 
of mine. Little Ray could not have known what death was. 

The last time I went with him to visit my little child's grave — 
that is to say, a short time before Ray fell ill — both of us sat down 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 187 

beside the gTave, and I thought, "Oh, if I could take my baby in 
my arms and see him for just one minute ! How glad I 'd be !" 
Simultaneously Ray cried, "Oh, Mamma, let 's take little brother in 
our arms for just one minute; then we'd be happy." As we were 
getting ready to leave, he put several lumps of earth on the grave, 
and remarked, "Soon Ray will sleep here, near his little brother; 
but you mustn't cry, Mamma." 
He now sleeps on the spot which he pointed out. 

The child's father wrote, in his turn, to Dr. Hodgson: 

I certify that my wife told me of the incident (of the vision in the 
chair) on the very day on which it occurred, when I came back for 
lunch. I myself was present many a time when the child announced 
to his mother that his little brother was calling him insistently. 

W. H. 

Mrs. J. H. Shulsters, a friend of Mr. and Mrs. W. H., also 
confirmed all the statements previously made. 

This episode is particularly interesting, as are all the super- 
normal manifestations told of by children, for their untouched 
minds are free from any influence which might induce in 
them any of the varied forms of sensory hallucinations. And 
every time there is a premonition of death with one of these 
visions, a premonition that is realized, this adds a further 
logical reason for believing in their reality. 

The following experience, an account of which was taken 
from a letter sent me from Bordeaux in April, 1899, was 
similar in its nature: 

I had just lost my son Gaston, aged sixteen (in February, 1884). 
Some days later his younger brother (aged five) was alone in a 
room set apart as a play-room for the children. He was amusing 
himself by harnessing a wooden horse, when he rushed into his 
mother's room and said to her: 'Mother, Fve just seen Gaston 
[this was what he called his brother] ; he was sitting down, watching 



188 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

me play; he told me to be very good, and then he left without 
wanting to play with me." The child (he is now twenty) still re- 
members this. 

N. V. 
(Letter 259.) 

The child had this vision several days after his elder 
brother's death. On page 85 of ''At the Moment of Death" 
we read of a similar vision, seen one hour after death, on 
the very day of dissolution. Here is still another: 

When my brother Henri Chambige (known to the world of letters 
as Marcel Lami) died, his youngest daughter, then aged three, in- 
sisted that she had seen him on several occasions. She would say, 
for example : "Why are you crying ? My papa has n't gone ; he 's 
there, you can see." She would state that she saw him seated in an 
arm-chair or bent over her little bed, smiling at her. Other people 
could see nothing, and I have always thought that if the power of 
manifesting itself could have been given my brother's soul, he would 
have appeared to liis smallest daughter. Since she had no concep- 
tion of death, she could not have been surprised to see him. This 
happened in Cluny (Saone-et-Loire). 

Andree-Germ. Roze, 
Montelimar, Drome. 

(Letter 4322.) 

Such experiences on the part of children are significant to 
me. They are as enlightening as any other experiences of 
the sort. Whether seen by children or by adults, the appar- 
itions seem real. 

What are these apparitions? When the persons are 
recognized, when they come to announce a death, when they 
offer consolation, we think we understand them. But there 
are some which are bafflingly incomprehensible. Such was 
the following. My friend Dr. Dariex received an account of 
it, sent by a person whose character and whose well-balanced 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 189 

mind he esteems. This is what the narrator/ Madame E. 
M , wrote to him: 

In 1846 my mother, aged forty-six, gave birth to a son who seemed 
to us to have fallen from the skies ; my elder sister was married and 
lived at a distance, and I was eighteen years old. 

Since, in the country, I had nothing to entertain me, I welcomed 
this child with enthusiasm. I took care of him from morning till 
night; I was a second mother to him, and the child had a deep 
affection for me. We parted when he was eight ; I got married, and 
he was sent to school. There he made such rapid progress that at 
fourteen and a half he was able (with special permission on account 
of his age) to take the examination for the degree of bachelor of 
arts. He passed with the mark ^'Good," and six months afterward 
had an equally brilliant success with his examination in the sciences. 
He entered his name for the first year of medical study, and came 
to Paris, when scarcely sixteen, to continue the studies to which he 
had given his mind completely. 

As he always stood unusually well in his examinations, though 
working much less hard than his rivals, his prodigious facility left 
him too much free time. He was not able, on certain occasions, to 
resist the temptations incident to his age, and divided his time 
equally between study and pleasures. But he was too young, too 
delicately organized to indulge with impunity in even a slight over- 
taxing of his strength, and he took cold when he was leaving a ball. 
This cold grew worse, and he languished for fifteen months, kept 
alive only by our tender care. 

Since my marriage I had been living thirty kilometers away from 
my parents' estate. Every week I went to spend three days with 
him. It would be impossible to tell how it grieved my heart to see 
this adored brother pine away day after day, impossible to express 
my bitter regrets at the blighting of such brilliant hopes. He him- 
self still cherished chimerical hopes of being cured; he used to re- 
ceive me with great joy. 

The last week of his life I left him regretfully, as I had found him 
weaker, but nothing had made us foresee a fatal outcome. I had 

1 Annates des Sciences psychiques, 1902, p, 321. 



190 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

a duty to my other family as well. On the following day I received 
a telegram, calling me back at once. I made haste, but could em- 
brace only a dead body! The poor child had passed away, at 
scarcely nineteen, like a burnt-out candle that a breath extinguishes. 
My name had been on his lips several times! 

My mother was crushed by sorrow; my father was sad and dis- 
couraged. I made preparations to stay with them for eight days, 
and tried to lighten what was irreparable, so far as lay in my power. 

Was it two or three days after this lamentable event? I cannot 
state the exact time, but it was certainly not more than three days 
— I walked down the steps before the door one evening, wishing to 
get a breath of pure air before going to bed. It might have been 
about nine o'clock. A few steps away from me the road that crossed 
the estate stood out white beneath the feeble light of the quarter- 
moon, and vanished behind the dividing wall that joined, at an angle, 
the one against which I was leaning. I looked at the familiar pano- 
rama without, it seems to me, thinking of anything, when I saw, 
coming along the road, a tall man in a well-fitting frock-coat and a 
silk hat. With hurried steps, and without paying any attention to 
me, he went on his way across the open space before the house, 
which stretched out before my gaze, and disappeared behind the 
dividing wall. 

"Well," I said to myself, astonished by his formal attire, "there 's 
a gentleman who's very late!" 

The next day, enticed by the mildness of the evening, I went out 
at the same hour and stood leaning against the half -open gate, with 
no feeling but that of relaxation as I gazed at the dark blue of the 
sky, pricked by a multitude of stars. I saw, suddenly, coming along 
the same road, the gentleman of the evening before, dressed in 
exactly the same way. With the same hurried gait he crossed the 
open space before the house, and took the road that passed behind 
the dividing wall. 

"Who is it?" I asked myself, puzzled only by the elegance of his 
dress in this region where the frock-coat is reserved for formal 
occasions, for the short cut through our property is often taken by 
walkers from the two villages. "He 's doubtless a wine-broker going 
to a meeting," I added mentally, and, fairly satisfied by my ex- 
planation, I went in again without thinking any more of it. 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 191 

In the South the October evenings are exquisitely beautiful and 
transparent. A desire to enjoy the charm of one of them for a 
moment, or some other mysterious impelling force, drew me out of 
doors on the following day as well. Again I went out between eight 
and nine o'clock, at an hour when every one was accustomed to go 
to his room. I had been leaning against the large barred gate for 
scarcely a minute when the same gentleman, slender and erect, 
appeared on the road. In the pale light of the moon his features, 
as on the two preceding days, were invisible in the shadow cast by 
the brim of his hat. As on the day before, the skirts of his frock- 
coat, correctly buttoned, flapped against his black trousers as he 
walked rapidly. His white hands — as they had two days before — 
hung at his sides. He passed on, and disappeared behind the 
dividing wall. 

This time I was astounded! 

"But one would say," I thought, "that this gentleman chooses the 
exact moment when I am outside in which to pass through our estate 
every evening!" Yielding to an impulse of lively curiosity, I ran 
after him as far as the bend in the wall. I remained there, over- 
whelmed by an indescribable emotion. No one was there! The 
empty road stretched out like a long gray ribbon, without a shadow. 
Where could he have gone*? 

A victim of that unreasonable fear which grips our feeble under- 
standing when we see an inexplicable phenomenon, I felt my knees 
give way in sudden weakness. A cold shiver ran over me, to my 
very finger-tips. I was struck by a mad idea which came at once 
into my confused mind; an idea that was incontrovertible, as plain 
as the ground on which I stood as though rooted. I thrust it back 
into the depths of my being with a sort of fear, and fled in haste 
to tell my mother what I had just seen. 

I had scarcely gone in when words fell in floods from my trem- 
bling lips. The poor woman, in anguish, placed on the table the 
lamp she had been holding, to go up to her room. My eyes looked 
deep into hers: two flashes started from them — two tears. 

"It was my son!" she cried, falling into a chair, almost uncon- 
scious. "It was my poor child ! My beloved son ! Did n't you rec- 
ognize him by his height? Didn't you recogTiize him by the gar- 
ments in which we dressed Mm, for Ms coffin f To-morrow we '11 



192 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

go together," she went on, weeping inexhaustible tears, *'to that same 
place where he appeared to you three times!" 

We were there at the mysterious hour. Pressed one against the 
other, we heard the mad beating of our hearts. On that evening the 
crescent of the moon, which had grown larger, cast a more vivid 
light; the road was whiter beneath our hypnotized gaze. All re- 
mained deserted! On the following evenings we went down vainly 
at the same hour, and evoked the dear apparition with all the force 
of our will: there was nothing more. 

He who had been my brother — a mind out of the common, a 
"radiant soul," as Victor Hugo would have said (he had expiated 
the few excesses of his youth by fifteen months of suffering) — ^had 
he, through some exceptional deviation from natural laws, been able 
to come, in visible form, and bid me a last and supreme farewell ? 

If this was the case, why did he not appear to me when, after I 
had been thinking of him, I summoned him with all the force of my 
spirit? Without a doubt the terrestrial bonds which, in the un- 
fathomable and dizzy Beyond, still bound the son of my heart to 
my humble nature, to my gross being, had been broken forever ! 

Dr. Dariex adds the following remarks: 

I have known Madame M for a very long time. She has an 

excellent memory, and the accomit of this experience is certainly 
exact. We are here concerned with a simple occurrence: an appa- 
rition was seen on three successive days, at the same hour; it is easy 

to remember a thing such as this. Madame M never had any 

other hallucination or vision. It is, therefore, most remarkable that 
an apparition, with the deceased man's silhouette, was seen on three 
successive days, by a person who was not expecting this, who knew 
nothing of these phenomena. And it is remarkable that, after 
thinking it was an apparition of her brother, neither she nor her 
mother saw anything more, and had no hallucination, though their 
imaginations were stimulated and they were under the best con- 
ditions for autosuggestion. 

We cannot admit that s.o well-balanced an observer had 
three hallucinations. Nevertheless it is impossible for us to 



01^ DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 193 

concede, on the other hand, that the young man, who had 
been buried for some days, took a walk there, in a frock-coat 
and a high hat. What, then? Still more singular is the 
fact that he seemed to pay no attention at all to his sister, 
whom he had loved so dearly. All is paradoxical. 

What mysterious world have we entered? 

Can a dead person's thought produce an automatic replica? 

We must observe everything, and investigate everything, 
that we may discover the truth of these abstruse problems. 

Here is another manifestation on the part of some one 
dead, perceived three days after death. The following ac- 
count was taken from a letter sent me on April 10, 1921 : 

In 1918, I was living in the Principality of Monaco, with my 
sister, and we were without news of a friend residing in Paris who 
ordinarily answered our letters at once. For three weeks we had 
been waiting impatiently for a reply to several letters expressing 
our uneasiness at the thought that he was unwell. One evening (I 
had just gone to bed; it was about ten o'clock) I heard in my 
dressing-room which adjoined my bedroom (the door of this dressing- 
room was open and there was a light in it the whole night long) a 
terrible uproar. It was as though all the mirrors in the room (there 
were a great many in it) had been broken, and the glass shivered to 
bits. It was even worse than this. I cannot describe the noise, 
which was more like a loud and very long peal of thunder, made up 
of the sound of breaking glass. While it was going on I cannot 
say that I was frightened; I was astonished, rather, and all sorts 
of ideas came into my mind, above all the idea of a bomb, in spite 
of the fact that the armistice had been signed. When this noise had 
stopped, I got up, thinking I should find that everything had been 
pulverized, and my astonishment was great when I saw that nothing 
was out of place except a picture which was on the floor. Its glass 
was barely cracked ; its cord, new and very strong, looked as though 
it had been cut. When I saw the picture on the floor, knowing 
that this is often a presage of death, I thought at once, "Why, 
A must be dead!" 

The loud noise was also heard by my sister, who was then seated 



194 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

at the piano, at the other end of the large villa, but she thought 
that a wagon-load of broken glass was being emptied, and paid no 
attention to it. The servants heard it, too, and went out into the 
street to see if a rubbish-cart had turned over. 

The next morning, at nine o'clock, I received a telegram informing 
me of our friend's death; it had occurred three days before. 

There is nothing more extraordinary about this occurrence than 
about those you have related, but the astonishing circumstance is 
the fact that this friend did not cause the manifestation until three 
days after his death, and after the telegram which was to inform 
me of it had been sent and was to be given to me the next morning. 
Doubtless, he did not wish to leave me in anxiety by producing 
the phenomenon at the moment of his death, since it would have 
been impossible for me to obtain any information, and he awaited 
the moment when a certain person was sure to receive a letter in 
which the news was given and sure to let me know; this did, in 
fact, happen. 

For me this occurrence is an absolute proof of immortality, for 
there were thought and deliberate waiting. 

I am giving my name and address, but I shall ask you to reveal 
nothing of a personal nature. My sister and I are in a delicate 
position with regard to this friend's family. He is married, had 
lived with my sister for a long time, and had remained, in spite of 
his marriage, in most friendly relations with us. Discretion is 
necessary. But the experience is, in itself, something which may 
aid in your investigation, and I am giving it to you in entire con- 
fidence. As for supposing that I made it up, I do not see under 
what pretext I could be accused of this. 

Madame X. 

(Letter 4431.) 

It happens that I am correcting the proofs of these pages 
in Monte Carlo (in December, 1921), the place where this 
phenomenon occurred, and I can conjure up the scene ap- 
proximately as it was. Nevertheless it seems to me that the 
interpretation is debatable. 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 195 

I owe to General Berthaut my information as to the follow- 
ing occurrence. Tlie account of it was in the form of an 
extract from a letter written by H. S. Olcott, and published 
in the ''Spiritual Telegraph'^ of July 15, 1854. 

A p-astor, who had been told that his father was ill, was going 
home, when he perceived the latter, standing in a fenced-in field 
of alfalfa. He went forward to shake hands with him. The old 
man leaped over the fence, led his son away, and told him many 
things which seemed most strange to the pastor. He noted that 
his father looked well, and he thought that he had been completely 
cured. When they drew near his house, the old man stopped and 
told his son to go on ahead and to speak to his mother. His 
mother received him in deep sadness. "My dear child," she said, 
"your father was buried day before yesterday." He assured her 
that it was indeed his father whom he had met, and that he had 
never seemed in better health. It took quite a long time to con- 
vince him that his father was really dead. 

When he sent me the account, General Berthaut observed 
that he saw in it ''a case of the telepathic influence of the 
dead man's mind upon his son and of psychic influence af- 
fecting his vision and hearing. It was not," he added, "an 
hallucination which corresponded to nothing. It was an ap- 
pearance, an illusion occurring under certain given con- 
ditions, a real phenomenon produced by something the cause 
and mechanism of which remain to be explained." (Letter 
4516.) 

Yes, we are forced to acknowledge the fact that these 
varied occurrences are both real and inexplicable. Such 
was the following phenomenon. 

A mother received, in a dream, information as to the spot 
where her son, killed in the war, was buried. This letter was 
sent me from Cherbourg on October 13, 1921, by Madame 
Demeantis, the principal of the primary school: 



196 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

It was during the last days of May, 1915. I was suffering from 
the most intense grief which it is possible for a woman to experience. 
I had just learned of the death of my eldest son, Georges, a 
sergeant in the twenty-fifth Regiment of the line. He had fallen, 
on May 23d, in the attack on the Labyrinth. He was swallowed 
up at twenty-seven, leaving a young vtdfe, twenty-four years old, 
and two babies. In the opinion of those who knew him, he was a 
serious, steady, most cultivated young man; his heart was tender 




and good, and he was endowed with great energy. The grief of 
all of us was intense. Preyed upon all day long by the thought 
of the terrible truth, and above all, by the supposition, which was 
so cruel, that the dear boy had no coffin, my suffering was indescrib- 
able. At night I should not have been able to sleep without the 
bromide of potassium which my children had me take in the evening. 
I am giving these details to bring out the fact that on the night 
•of which I shall speak, I was sleeping calmly and deeply. My 
slumbers could not well have been interrupted without cause, and 
have begun again almost immediately. Well, when I was sleeping 
in this way, I saw tlie little picture given here. 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 197 

I saw it very distinctly, very clearly. At once, without having 
been awakened by any shock or any noise, I opened my eyes, fully 
awake, as one is in broad daylight. I told myself, "I 've seen 
that; what can it bef And without any effort I fell, once more, 
into the same sort of sleep. The next day I spoke to my family 
of what I had seen, and then we thought no more of it. This, I 
repeat, took place during the period immediately following the 
death. 

It was at this same time that my son-in-law, Monsieur Tricard, 
an instructor in- Cherbourg, left for the front, and for the same 
region north of Arras. He told me to have courage, and swore 
that he would do everything possible to find the grave of our Georges. 
He kept his promise, did my dear son whom we mourn (Lieutenant 
Tricard. He fell at Verdun, in September, 1916). On August 8, 
1915, he sent me a touching letter, which I still have, with the map 
of the cemetery in which my poor child lay. This map had been 
given him by the chaplain of the regiment who had conducted the 
burial service; he had set down the details I wished for, on the 
second page of a book. I enclose this map [it is not given here]. 
On it the graves are represented by parallel lines, and one of these 
lines, longer than, the others, has opposite it the words: '^13th 
grave, G. Demeantis." 

My emotion may be imagined! The above picture, which I had 
seen in my sleep, during one of the nights that followed my child's 
death, 'returned to my mind, and this disturbing association gave 
me not merely hope but conviction, apart from any religious dogma : 
the conviction that the best of us does not perish with the body; 
that the spirits of those we have lost still exist and go on living, 
apart from our little sphere. And from the bottom of my heart 
I give thanks to the great thinkers who, rising above skeptical, 
materialistic critics, laboriously seek to find scientific proofs of the 
immortality of the soul. 

P. S. — When, in August, 1919, in the Roclincourt sector, the 
bodies of these poor unfortunates were exhumed, that of our dear 
Georges was found in the row indicated upon the map, and at the 
spot revealed in my dream. He was in a special grave, between 
two sheets of corrugated iron, buried twenty-five centimeters deeper 
than the twelve bodies beside him. 



198 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

He now lies in the Roclincourt soldiers' graveyard. 

L. Demeantis. 
(Letter 4714.) 

Apart from any question of sentiment, the incident is most 
interesting. In the first place, there can be no doubt as to 
the narrator's sincerity and intelligence. However, since I 
apply impartially my methods of investigation, I must state 
that I obtained confirmation of her high intelligence, from 
my learned friend Dr. Valleteau de Moulliac of Cherbourg. 
Nov^, what line can a critical investigation take in this case? 
By what hypotheses can the phenomenon be explained? 

(1) The first hypothesis, namely, ''It is not true; it is a 
story which the narrator made up," cannot apply in this 
case. 

(2) We may assume that the number thirteen, seen in 
the dream, was meaningless, was evoked by the mental suf- 
fering of the afflicted mother, and that its coincidence with 
the location of the grave was purely accidental. But does 
this explanation satisfy us ? The circumstances in which this 
vision occurred, the mother's desire to know whether her son 
had received proper burial — must not these things be taken 
into account when we pass judgment? 

(3) We may assume that the dead son did not cause the 
vision, on the supposition that Madame Demeantis was gifted 
with clairvoyance and that she saw the row of graves men- 
tally. Such, a supposition would be confirmed by all the ex- 
amples of vision at a distance which my readers know of. 
But such was not the case: she saw neither the cemetery 
nor the grave, and there was no number above the grave. 

(4) The most direct explanation must be preferred to 
those hypotheses : that there was thought-communication 'be- 
tween the mother and the son, telepathic waves which took 
the form of the number indicating the spot where this grave 
was. It seems to me that by reasoning logically we must 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 199 

reach this conclusion. We know of other similar cases; for 
example, that which my readers will find farther on — among 
the manifestations observed more than three years after death 
— the case of an officer killed in the same circumstances. 
His mother had wished earnestly that she knew where 
he had been buried (Letter 4378, page 286.) She learned 
of the spot through the apparition of her son between a Rus- 
sian and a German. These were examples of thought-trans- 
mission between a mother and son. We cannot guess how 
the transmission was accomplished but it is evidence of the 
fact that human beings survive in a state that is unknowable, 
so far as our earthly senses are concerned. 

The following is a totally different sort of manifestation. 
Monsieur Armand Moulin, an employee of the State Rail- 
roads, in a position of importance, wrote me on August 28, 
1921: 

My dear Master, I must inform you that my grandmother has 
just told me, for the tenth time, perhaps, of the following occurrence. 
It took place in her husband's family — that of my grandfather. 

She had a brother-in-law who died when he was about twenty- 
five. During his illness, when he wished to call his mother he 
struck three blows on a wooden chest near his bed. Before his last 
moments he expressed a desire that after his death prayers should 
be said for the repose of his soul. His father, who did not believe 
in the Catholic religion, did not have this done. A few nights after 
his death his mother felt a strange pressure, which frightened her 
greatly. Then she heard three blows similar, in loudness, to those 
which her son used to strike before his death. These blows came 
from the chest that was still near the deceased man's bed. The 
father, too, felt the pressure and heard the three blows. 

This phenomenon occurred on several nights, and my grand- 
mother was so agitated by it that she no longer went to bed. At 
last her husband consented to have the masses said, and all ceased 
immediately. 

In spite of the fact that a great many years have gone by since 



200 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

this happened, it will be very easy for you if you wish to make an 
investigation. My grandmother is still living, and her children, too. 
I can vouch for their perfect good faith, and I have heard them 
tell of it frequently. 

If you wish to make use of the story in your works (I am an 
ardent admirer of them) I shall authorize this with pleasure, in 
the interests of the goal which you have set yourself. 

Marc Moulin^ 

(Letter 4637.) Paris. 

According to my usual method of following things up, I 
asked the author if there were still witnesses of the occurrence. 
His reply, sent from Bussiere-Poitevin, on September 4, 1921, 
gave me confirmation of all details. The letter ended as 
follows : 

In the opinion of my grandparents it was, without any doubt, 
the spirit of their son which demanded that the masses he had asked 
for be said. He had left the money necessary to have this done. 
Catherine Dupont (married name: Colix). 

I also consider it a duty to guarantee the authenticity of the 
incidents related above. 

Rose Dupont (married name: Drodrier). 
(Letter 4681.) 

This story, like so many others, raises more than one ques- 
tion. Would it not seem, in the first place, that the demand 
for masses was in the minds of those still living, and that 
consequently they themselves might have caused the noises, 
unconsciously? But how? This we cannot fathom. 

If it was really the dead man who demanded the prayers, 
why did he do so? We see here the continuation of the 
Catholic belief in purgatory, in the Church suffering, the 
Church militant (living Christians), and the Church trium- 
phant (those in heaven). But nothing is less fully proved, 
nothing less admissible. Where is this heaven ? Where is this 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 201 

purgatory ? Are they states of the soul in space ? This would, 
indeed, be a complete metamorphosis of the ancient Christian 
cosmography. We cannot fathom this, either. 

We have already related above (page 176) the story of a 
demand for masses which was similar to the preceding one, 
and a request that prayers be said with a rosary (Chapter 
V, page 176). These requests for prayers surprise us. They 
are made frequently, and it is my duty to give them here. 
How shall we explain them? What part do the living play 
in the manifestations? 

Cases of this sort occur in Catholic families, which believe 
in souls in purgatory, but not in Protestant families, which 
do not hold the belief. 

We may think that there is autosuggestion. A man hears 
strange noises, tells himself, ''I promised to have prayers 
said for him." He even hears a voice, demanding them. 

How explain the fact that noises cease after masses have 
been said, and also in the case of certain haunted houses? 
It occurs to us, naturally, that these noises might be caused 
by the hearers themselves, just as certain responses, by spirit 
rapping, would seem to be dictated by those making the ex- 
periments. But how could the hearers cause them? 

Only numerous and varied comparisons may enlighten us. 

However it be, I must mention the fact that demands for 
prayers, requests that masses be said, date back, so far as 
tales of them go, to very early times. We may see in the 
Van Eyck Museum, in Bruges, a book consisting of two leaves 
that is significant. It shows a skeleton counting pieces of 
money with one hand, and with the other holding a written 
contract which, unfulfilled, had been found by a priest. At 
this very moment I have a photograph of the picture before 
my eyes. It would seem to represent a request of the sort 
we are discussing. 

A woman who was visiting the museum wrote me, in this 
connection (Letter 4781), that she knew of an incident of 



202 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

the kind which occurred in the Department of Mayenne. A 
farmer's wife, terrified by mysterious noises, went to the 
clergyman, who found the record of a donation for masses 
that had been given previously and later forgotten. The 
masses were said, and the uproar ceased. 

We shall return to this enigma. 

Among the arguments against the authenticity of appari- 
tions of the dead which our powers of reasoning may sug- 
gest, is the supposition that they are subjective visions. But 
when the death is unknown to the person seeing the ap- 
parition, this explanation can no longer hold. The follow- 
ing account belongs in the latter class; it was sent me from 
Switzerland on May 29, 1899 : 

I am seventy-six years old, and do not remember seeing, per- 
sonally, any supernatural apparition. But here is an incident of 
which I was a witness in my childhood. 

I was in my uncle's living-room, in Winzenheim (Alsace). My 
aunt was busy piling up wood in the kitchen. Suddenly I beard 
her utter a terrible cry. Terrified, she came into the room, and 
said, weeping: "My sister Hannah is dead! She appeared to me 
behind the sticks of wood, dressed all in white!" As a matter of 
fact, this sister, who lived in Grussenheim, a village about twenty 
kilometers from ours, had died some days previously. 

G. Bloche, 

(Letter 420.) Le Loch. 

Such visions are not infrequent. A similar one will be 
found on page 210. The following one belongs in the same 
category. Lord Beresford sent an account of it to the Eng- 
lish Society for Psychical Research. 

It was in the spring of 1864; I was on board the frigate Raccoon 
on its way from Gibraltar to Marseilles. I had to go down into my 
cabin to get my pipe. Inside the cabin I saw a coffin in which my 
father was lying; I saw this as distinctly as if it had been real! 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 203 

I was deeply impressed, and at once told my companions what had 
happened; they were seated near there, between the cannon, talking. 
I also told the ship's chaplain, the Rev. Mr. Onslow. In a few 
days we reached Marseilles, and there I learned of my father's 
death; he had been buried on the same day and at the same time 
at which he had appeared to me (half -past twelve). I must add 
that at the moment of the apparition there was splendid weather, 
and that I was feeling no uneasiness as to my father, having recently 
received reassuring news as to his improved health. Between my 
father and me there had always been a great bond of sympathy, 
one far stronger than is usual between a man of seventy-two and a 
young man of twenty^ — for such were our respective ages. 

The investigation brought out the fact that the observer's 
father died in Kensington on April 29, 1864, and was buried 
on May 4th. The vision of the father in his coffin occurred 
on the day of the burial, five days after dissolution. Was 
it the dead man who manifested himself? — who thought of 
his son, when his body was already in the coffin? Was it 
the son who, suddenly clairvoyant, thought of his father, 
for no apparent reason? We may also suppose that there 
was telepathic transmission between a relative who was at 
the funeral and the dead man's son, but is this not even 
less probable ? In any case, we see that all these occurrences, 
ignored until now, deserve our attention. 

We know of Ernest Renan's love for his sister Henri ette, 
and we know that a sudden, cruel malady came near to 
cutting short their days at the same time, on September 24, 
1860, in Amschit, near Beirut. We read on one of the great 
writer's most touching pages; 

Two or three times, in my feverish dreams, there came to me a 
terrible doubt; I thought I heard my name called from the vault 
from where her body lay! The presence of French physicians at 
the moment of her death disposes, doubtless, of this horrible sup- 
position." ^ 

^ Ma soeur Henriette (1895), p. 88. 



204 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

The skeptical philosopher does not appear to have thought 
of the possibility of posthumous communication between his 
dearly loved sister and himself. Nevertheless we know of 
happenings of the sort. As for the survival after death of 
his sister's soul, he writes, farther on: 

Was it not for souls like hers that immortality was decreed ? Mat- 
ter does not exist, since it is not one; the atom does not exist, 
since it is unconscious. It is the soul which exists, when it has 
really left its mark on the eternal history of the true and the good. 
The really eternal part of each of us is his connection with infini- 
tude. It is in God's memory that Man is immortal. It is there 
that our Henriette, forever radiant, forever blameless, lives a thou- 
sand times more truly than at the period when she was struggling, 
with her weak organs, to create her spiritual being; when, thrown 
upon the world, which could not understand her, she stubbornly 
sought perfection. All the logic of the system of our universe 
would be brought to nothing if such reasoning were but deception 
and illusion. 

Despite these philosophical ideas, the author of the '*Vie 
de Jesus" (''The Life of Jesus") did not believe in im- 
mortality. By his way of thinking, his sister Henriette no 
longer exists an an individual. Then what do the preceding 
lines mean? And what does his dedication of the book to 
his sister Henriette mean: "In God's bosom, where you 
are at rest"? 

Kenan's reminiscence is not given here as a posthumous 
manifestation on the part of his sister, but as a mere ' ' possibil- 
ity.'' 

In closing this chapter, I shall make the same remark that 
I did at the end of the two preceding ones: not one of the 
accounts which we have read was borrowed from spiritistic 
experiments. These last will have a special chapter to them- 
selves. 



ONE DAY TO ONE WEEK AFTER DEATH 205 

The foregoing manifestations were observed during the 
first week after death. Let us continue our investigation. 
Following this same chronological order, let us look at those 
which were observed from one week to one month after death. 



VII 



MANIFESTATIONS AND APPARITIONS FROM ONE WEEK 
TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 

If I heard people speak of returned 
spirits, of sorcery or other tales by which 
I was not deceived, I used to feel sorry 
for these poor, deceived mortals. I now 
find that I myself was at least as much 
to be pitied. 

Montaigne. 

IF we wish exact, full, and rigorously authenticated in- 
formation as to these extraordinary occurrences, we 
must not stop here. Perhaps as we go on they will 
seem to us more and more fantastic, more and more un- 
believable. But we must remember that it is not a romance 
that we are reading, but accounts of visual observation — 
things seen, as Victor Hugo would say. The question is 
whether the old, standard hypothesis of hallucinations can 
still be accepted: whether so-called positive science has not 
until now, been on a wrong tack. 

The following manifestation, eight days after death, was 
strange enough, but such phenomena are not very infrequent. 
I am taking the account from a letter sent me from Paris 
in August, 1900, by some one living near the house in which 
my brother's publishing business is conducted. 

My wife's maternal grandfather, who died on February 13, 1880, 

was living in the home of his son-in-law, M. S , librarian of 

the Polytechnic School. About eight days after his death the bell 

in M. S 's'room, on the ground floor, began to ring. This room 

had been closed since the burial. The whole family was then at 
table in the dining-room, also on the ground floor. The servant 

206 



ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 207 

was in the kitchen on the first floor. As soon as this noise was 
heard, every one ran into the room. There was nothing unusual 
about its appearance, but the bell-cord was still in motion. The 
same manifestation occurred again and again — three times, at in- 
tervals. 

E. Reboul._, 
(Letter 1066.) Paris, 20 rue de Vaugirard. 

My readers are already familiar with eases of bell-ringing, 
unexplained but authentic. This last one, like so many 
others, can leave no doubt in the minds of those who know 
and value the narrator's well-balanced judgment. 

Manifestations of the sort are commonplace, so to speak. 
Cases of apparitions are rarer, and often more debatable. 

We wish, here, to give accounts of neither illusions nor 
dreams nor imaginary visions, but phenomena precisely ob- 
served. Ghost-stories are usually not believed, and this is 
natural, since usually they are related with a blind and dis- 
concerting credulity. I, for my part, have always shown 
little disposition to believe them; I have not accepted them 
until I have made as close a critical examination as possible. 
It is absolutely necessary that we seek to learn precisely what 
parts are true, and what that madcap, imagination, has 
added; this is always difficult to determine. 

The best proof that I have never been in a hurry to take 
kindly to these stories is the fact that I have known of one 
since childhood, which I have never made public. I be- 
lieve that I may give it now. 

It happened in my family a very long time ago, under 
Louis XVI, in 1784. My maternal great-grandmother was a 
witness. I almost knew her, for when she died in 1844, 
aged nearly a hundred, I was two years old. She did not 
tell it to me; but my mother did so, herself. 

It happened in Illoud, a little village in the County of Bar, 
which is to-day included in the Department of Haute-Marne, 



208 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

not far from the region where I was born ; it was my maternal 
grandfather's native district. During the whole of my child- 
hood I spent my vacations there, on the vine-covered slopes 
opposite Bourm.ont, in the midst of a smiling country-side, 
in woods full of the songs of birds. The house in which the 
occurrence took place is still standing; it is at the entrance 
of the village, on the right, and is called ''the chateau." 
(It now belongs to one of my cousins.) When in 1899 I 
was collecting documents for my investigation, my mother, 
who had gone back to her native region at that very time, 
after a long, laborious life in Paris, sent me the following 
account : 

You would never take seriously the famous story of "our dead 
Rollet" which you so often heard Papa and Mama tell, but I am 
sending it to you, all the same. You may do what you like with 
it. As for me, I have never had reason to doubt it. This Frangois 
Rollet was the brother of my grandmother's sister-in-law. They 
were farming people, and lived together. Some time after this 
worthy man's death my grandmother went to the kitchen which you 
know, on the ground floor, to see, like a good housekeeper, if the 
boiled beef and broth were cooking well. She saw her brother-in- 
law seated at the corner of the great hearth, as though he were alive. 
Astounded, she fled. A short time afterward the young men came 
back from the fields. One of them told her that he was very hungry. 
She sent him, it seems, not without curiosity but without telling 
him anything, to get a little bacon from the pot which was simmer- 
ing on the fire, until supper time should come. The boy went away 
eagerly, but when he was putting the lid back on the pot he saw 
the phantom and began to shout: "Good God! Our dead Rollet!" 
I have heard it said, too, that at that instant a farm-boy began to 
swear, and that this oath coincided with the ghost's sudden dis- 
appearance. 

Such is my mother's story; I heard it also from my grand- 
mother's lips. There was no doubt as to this apparition, in 



ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 209 

the minds of members of the family. ''Our dead Rollet" was 
a legendary, though most unassuming person. 

It was generally believed that this was an imaginary vi- 
sion — an hallucination on the part of my great-grandmother, 
and then on the part of the young man who had returned 
from the fields. She stated definitely that she had said 
nothing to him, wishing the amusement of seeing his sur- 
prise, and desirous of knowing if he, too, would perceive the 
dead man. Neither w^as satisfied by this hypothesis of an 
hallucination, for they were both positive of having actually 
seen and recognized the man; he was calmly seated at the 
corner of the hearth. 

What is true, in this story? What can we be sure of? 

The most probable explanation, it would seem, is that my 
great-grandmother (then aged thirty-nine) was the victim 
of an illusion, which she described to those about her, with- 
out remembering afterward that she had done so. We may 
read in a most informative work by Briere de Boismont en- 
titled ''Les Hallucinations" of a great number of most inter- 
esting experiences of the sort. But when we have read this 
standard work, we have a strong impression that the word 
''hallucination" does not by any means explain all the cases. 

That this worthy man, who had died and been duly buried, 
came to sit at the fireplace in his usual garments — this is 
what we are asked to believe and will not admit. Never- 
theless, if he were seen, — what is called "seen," — an explana- 
tion of the incident should be found, as in the case of so 
many others. 

My mother, whose absolute sincerity and mental poise 
(despite her unshakable convictions as to Catholicism, in 
the face of which no reasoning could prevail) were valued 
by all those who knew her, held this story to be absolutely au- 
thentic. She was all the more ready to believe it because she 
knew of similar experiences in her family — the following 



210 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

one, among others. I am taking an account of it from 
another letter, written in 1899: 

Eugenie Biehet, whom you knew when you were a child, (she 
was the first wife of our cousin Lomon de Bourmont, the watioh- 
maker) lost her mother when she was not much more than fourteen 
or fifteen.^ Twice, at nightfall, when she was going to the wood- 
shed, a small structure in front of the house — on two separate 
occasions, I repeat — she saw, with her own eyes, her mother sitting 
on the woodpile. She was so frightened that she would not go 
back there. There are still persons who can remember her re- 
peated affirmations, I among others. 

As for me, I never saw anything, and I should have so liked to 
see your poor father! 

Until now such visions have been regarded by almost 
every one as simple hallucinations. But in this work we wish 
to analyze the subject fully, in entire freedom of mind, and 
to compare observations. The preceding chapters show that 
we are justified in giving the subject our sustained atten- 
tion, such as that given scientific research. 

At the beginning of this chapter, we quote one of Mon- 
taigne's reflections. La Rouchefoucauld wrote, as his view: 

True love is like the apparition of spirits: every one talks about 
it, but few have seen it. It is eertam, indeed, that our personal 
sources of information on this question are much less numerous 
than our second-hand sources, and still less numerous than our 
third-hand sources, or those still further removed. But it could 
not be otherwise, since those who give us information are more or 
less numerous, while each of us is the only observer of those things 
which happen to him personally. This is an additional reason why 
we should carefully record what seems authentic to us. 

Our age is no less rich in posthumous manifestations than 
that of La Eouchefoucauld or Montaigne. But only now are 

1 I am not omitting these rather intimate details, because the oc- 
currence in question was known to my family. 



ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 211 

we beginning to analyze them rigorously. I hope that this 
present work will definitely establish their reality. 

In ''L'Inconnu/' page 552, there is an account of a re- 
markably precise premonitory dream which Monsieur Amedee 
Basset, had; he was a notary in Vitrac, Charente. Here is 
the story of an apparition seen by his father, a landowner in 
Upper Vienna. As a preface to it, I am giving a letter 
showing the great importance which the author himself at- 
taches to this investigation : 

Vitrac, April 27, 1899. 

Although very much absorbed by my studies, I cannot resist a 
desire to express my great admiration for your research, published 
under a name which should captivate all those anxious to gain en- 
lightenment, "L'Inconnu"! The problems, a scientific solution of 
which you hope for, are in truth those that every one should be 
familiar with, for in my opinion there is no question that is of 
greater importance to this poor human race of ours! 

To catch a glimpse of — or, rather, to prove that Lavoisier's 
famous statement, "Nothing is created, nothing is lost, all is trans- 
formed," is applicable not only to what we agree to call matter 
but to all that makes up the world; to prove that all in nature is 
interconnected, and that everything that is was caused by something 
else, whether it be a question of thought or of material e?iergy — is 
there a problem more captivating, the solution of which should lead 
to happier results? 

When I was a member of the priesthood I took an intense interest 
in these questions, and I set down in a note-book (unfortunately, 
I lost it) the result of my investigations. But I remember that I 
had come to a realization of the fact that our ideas as to existence 
are contrary to reality, that time and space cannot be defined 
rationally and that an invisible but powerful bond joins all the 
worlds. 

In my humble opinion, absolute space exists nowhere, and infini- 
tude is peopled by beings, by forces, if you will. In order to come 
within the sphere of our senses — that is to say, in order that we 
should realize their existence — these need only an agent ad hoc, 
such as the vital fluid which causes them to materialize. I reached 



212 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

the conclusion that mediums have, to put it simply, the power to 
produce doubles of themselves, the power to lend their vital fluid 
to the energy, the spirit which is seeking to enter into communication 
with them. 
(Letter 640.) 

This letter shows us that the questions which we are in- 
vestigating here are of interest to all social classes. It told 
of the dream given above, and then went on to describe the 
strange apparition of some one dead which we are about to 
give. This story is all the more worthy of attention from the 
fact that (1) we are concerned with a phantom seen in broad 
daylight; (2) the observer followed the shade for so long a 
time that the hypothesis of hallucination is not applicable, 
here. What was it ? I do not know, but there the facts are. 
Monsieur Basset wrote : 

My father saw on several occasions, and very distinctly, the phan- 
tom of a man who had been dead for a month. On one of these 
occasions he saw him under the following circumstances. He was 
dressed in holiday attire, probably the garments in which he had 
been buried. He was seen crossing the road which skirts the 
cemetery; then he climbed the slope beside this road, and went 
toward the gate of the cemetery, where he disappeared. It was 
about five o'clock in the afternoon. 

In the evening, before sitting down to the table, my father was 
taking his daily walk, accompanied by one of his friends, when 
suddenly he saw, leaving the road A, opposite the cemetery (I 
am enclosing a sketch of the vicinity), a man who, in the most 
natural way, crossed the road B. This man climbed the slope C, 
a slope five to six meters high, with the greatest ease (I am quoting 
the passage in my father's letter word for word). He reached the 
point E, where there is a platform at the level of the cemetery, 
then, still walking straight before him, entered the cemetery by 
the gate F. Nothing can make us admit that my father was the 
victim of an hallucination, for, as he observes, it was only when 
he saw the phantom climb the slope so easily that he was surprised. 



ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 213 




Only then did he remember that this man (named Boireau) was 
dead. 

Unfortunately, my father does not remember whether the person 
who was with him saw the phantom, but he stated definitely that 
this person had been on very bad terms with the deceased. What 
is certain is that my father spoke of this that same evening and 
gave as an explanation of the apparition the mutual hatred of his 
friend and the dead man. 

My father is prepared to give you such supplementary details as 
may seem helpful to you. I am giving you his address in Upper 
Vienna. 

Amedee Basset. 



Monsieur Basset and his son do not admit that the hypoth- 



214 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

esis of an hallucination explains this case. The occur- 
rence was observed very coolly, very simply, very naturally, 
as though it had been any commonplace meeting. 

It is curious that among the hundreds — the thousands — 
of stories I have been collecting for fifty years, there is one 
which is absolutely like the preceding one. It was told by 
Dr. Fugairon, doctor of medicine and of sciences; he pub- 
lished it in his book ''La Survivance de I'ame" — ''The Im- 
mortality of the Soul"— (Paris, 1907). Here it is: 

The accompanying sketch shows the west entrance to the little 
village of Savignac, situated in the high valley of the Ariege. The 
reader can see that, on the left, a road runs between the graveyard 
and the park before the chateau. The national highway skirts the 
whole length of the gardens and park of the chateau, as well as the 
cemetery. 

At seven o'clock in the evening in the month of October, 1837, 
my grandmother and her two younger sisters were walking along 
the road. They were going back to the village and were at the 
points M and G, when they saw, almost in front of them, a gentle- 
man dressed in gray, with a cane in his hand. His soft felt hat 
was gray and his trousers as well, but the latter were darker than 
his vest and frock-coat. My mother said to her mother: "If my 
uncle had n't died a month ago, you 'd believe that was he ; that 
man is dressed like him, and has the same walk." Since night 
was falling, they could not see his face very well. 

My two aunts said, "Let 's go and see who it is." And they be- 
gan to run. 

When they reached the points TT and the walker had arrived 
at the point F, thirty paces from them, he stopped short and strode 
from F to A, stepping over the wall, eighty centimeters high, 
which skirts the meadow and divides it from the highway. It is 
impossible to take this at one stride, for the distance from F to A 
is more than three meters. My two aunts cried out, "Oh, what a 
stride !" At that moment the phantom vanished into the air. They 
ran to the spot where he had disappeared, to see if he had not 
fallen from the wall. They walked this way and that over the 



ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 215 

East 




G 



t^i 4 + > t f t f 

Cemeter y e^ 
i 1 



t f -r 



ia mgmx iusrcnrmu^^-Lu: 



•F/efd- 



Field 



yMea 



do 



w 




west 

meadow (the grass on it was very short) but they saw no one. 
This apparition was seen by four persons, in no way the victims 
of hallucinations. My younger aunt died in 1895, aged seventy- 
five. Some time before she died she told me of this apparition; 
her description corresponded to my mother's, who had given me an 
account of it several times. 



I should like to ask the impartial reader, who has just 
had these lines before him, if it does not seem to him that 
the two independent occurrences bear each other out; that 
the old hypothesis of hallucination is most improbable as 
applied to these various experiences, and that in the two 
cases the dead man would seem really to have been wander- 
ing not far from his grave. 

The following incident occurred in Haute-Marne, and one 
of my eminent compatriots told me of it; 



216 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Monsieur de Maricourt bad made a journey to Brittany, to see 
several relatives. It was in the time of Napoleon III. On the 
trip, letters had not been reaching him regularly. As for telegrams, 
there were no offices in any of these out-of-the-way places. The 
railroad to Wassy was not yet built; people had to go to Saint- 
Dizier to take trains, and a little mail-coach went from one of 
these places to the other. Monsieur de Maricourt had taken this 
coach, to go back home. The road skirted the cemetery ; about 
noon he saw his son at the gate, looking at him as he went by. 
The young man looked so natural that his father thought for a 
moment of having the coach stopped so that he could get off and 
go back with him. He thought that there had been a funeral and 
that his son was coming out, after having been present at the cere- 
mony. When he reached home he learned of the death, more or 
less sudden, of his son. He had been buried several days before. 

Long afterward, when telling of the occurrence. Monsieur de 
Maricourt used still to weep. 

These three cases that were so alike (there are many 
others) v^ould lead us to conclude that the dead wander at 
times in the neighborhood of their graves.. But among the 
other difficulties that stand in the way of an admission of the 
objective reality of occurrences of the sort, is not the chief 
obstacle that of the clothing seen by witnesses? 

May we attempt an explanation? 

Yes. 

If we grant that the dead person be there, near us, — as an 
invisible spirit, an immaterial shade, a being different from 
us, not perceptible through our physical senses, — we may 
grant, also, that the same person affects our mind psychically 
and that his influence is revealed to us in a perceptible form. 
So-and-so is there, and acts upon our brains through unknown 
psychic waves. His influence takes the form, in us, of an 
image of the person whom we have known. Witnesses see 
him in the shape in which they knew him. The ghost may 
be real and invisible, and become visible to us — may assume 



ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 217 

a shape so far as our minds, our optic nerves, and our ret- 
inas are concerned. It may affect certain cerebral fibers, and 
remain invisible to brains not attuned to its vibrations. 

Apparitions of doubles of the living are probably of this 
same sort. When Mrs. Wilmot went to see her husband 
aboard a ship, after a storm, and was seen by him and by the 
man with whom he shared his cabin (William Fait), her 
spirit alone had crossed the sea and was there before her 
husband. Nevertheless both of them saw her, in her night- 
dress. (''L'Inconnu/' pages 488-492.) All the cases of 
doubles are similar. The phenomenon is both objective, out- 
side the seer, real, and subjective, in so far as the seer inter- 
prets it. 

However strange they be, ghost-stories are founded on ob- 
servation, and they can be explained neither as hallucina- 
tions nor as illusions. It is not scientific to deny them, be- 
cause of preconceived ideas, or to dismiss them without an 
investigation. 

Adolphe d'Assier, an independent seeker and a positivist 
of the school of Auguste Comte, stated that he was writing 
a work on the vsubject of ghosts, and that the ideas in the 
book '*are as far from the reveries of mysticism as they are 
from the hallucinations of the spiritualists." Things which 
seem impossible to us and which have been regarded as ficti- 
tious by the most serious-minded savants are nevertheless 
real. In this book^ he related that he had seen all the 
natives of his canton agitated by the following episode: 

The Abbe Peytoux, parish priest of Sentenac (Ariege) had just 
died. During the following days noises made themselves heard 
in the parsonage; they were so strange and so persistent that the 
officiating priest who had succeeded the Abbe Peytoux was on the 
point of leaving the house. The country people, as ignorant as 
they were superstitious, had no difficulty in explaining the prodigy. 

^Esmi sur Vhufnanite posthmme, by a positivist (Paris, 1883). 



218 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

They declared that the soul of the dead man was restless because 
he had not had time, before his death, to say all the masses for 
which he had received payment. Brought up to believe in the 
Christian dogma, they told themselves that the dead priest had 
definitely left this earth for one of these three posthumous abiding- 
places: heaven, hell, or purgatory. They supposed that the doors 
of the two abodes of correction were too firmly locked for him to 
be able to return. 

But let us listen to the ghost-story. It is really the most 
curious one of that period, as much, on account of the dura- 
tion of the manifestations as because of the forms they took; 
a large number of natives of the region v^itnessed them. 

Monsieur d'Assier addressed himself, in order to have a 
more or less exact report, to Monsieur Auge, the former 
school-teacher in Sentenac. The latter, after having ques- 
tioned the old people of the village as to what they had seen 
or heard, sent in the following statement as to his investiga- 
tion: 

Sentenac-de-Serou, May 8, 1870. 
(I) When, about forty-five years ago, Peytoux, the parish priest 
of Sentenac, died, every evening, as soon as night fell, some one 
was heard moving chairs in the rooms of the parsonage, walking 
about, and opening and closing a snuff-box ; there was also the sound 
of a man taking a pinch of snuff. This phenomenon, which was 
repeated over a long period, was believed in by those most ingenuous 
and most given to fear. Those who — if I may be allowed the ex- 
pression — were the strong-minded ones of the commune, put no 
faith in all this. They merely laughed at all those who believed 
that the dead priest was coming back. A man named Eycheinne 
(Antoine) who was mayor of the commune at that time (he has 
been dead for five years), and one named Galy (Baptiste), who is 
still living, were the only men in the region who had any education. 
They were the most incredulous of all, and they wished to ascer- 
tain for themselves if all the nocturnal noises said to be heard in 
the parsonage had some basis in fact, or were merely the product 



ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 219 

of the over-impressionable imaginations of those easily frightened. 
One evening, armed, one of them with a gun and the other with an 
ax, they resolved to go and spend the night in the parsonage, thor- 
oughly determined not to be duped if they heard anything. They 
sat down in the kitchen, near a good fire, and began to talk about 
the simple-mindedness of the natives, when, in a room above their 
heads, they heard a noise. Then they heard chairs being moved 
about, and some one walking. Next, the steps were heard coming 
downstairs and going toward the kitchen. They rose. Eycheinne 
went to the kitchen door, holding his ax in one hand, ready to 
strike any one who should dare to enter. Galy brought his gun to 
his shoulder. 

When the person who seemed to be walking about reached the 
kitchen door, he took a pinch of snuff; that is, the men heard the 
same sounds that a man taking a pinch of snuff makes. Then, 
instead of opening the kitchen door, the ghost went into the parlor, 
where he seemed to walk up and down. Eycheinne and Galy, still 
armed, left the kitchen, entered the parlor, and saw absolutely 
nothing. They went up into the other rooms, went through the 
house from top to bottom, looked in all the corners, and found 
neither chairs nor anything else out of place. Eycheinne, who had 
been the more incredulous of the two, then said to his companion: 
"My friend, those noises were n't made by living people. It 's Mon- 
sieur Peytoux. What we heard was his walk and his way of taking 
snuff; we can sleep quietly." 

(II) Marie Calvet was Monsieur Ferre's maid-servant; he was 
Monsieur Peytoux's successor. She was a brave woman, if there 
ever was one. She did not allow herself to be frightened by any- 
thing; she did not believe all the stories that were told, and she 
would have slept in a church without fear, as the common expres- 
sion goes when one wishes to characterize a person who is not 
terrified by anything. This servant, as I was saying, was cleaning 
the kitchen utensils one evening, at nightfall, in the barn. Mon- 
sieur Feire, her master, who had gone to call on his neighbor 
Desplas, a parish priest, was not due to return. While Marie Calvet 
was busy giving her utensils a good scrubbing, a priest passed 
before her, without speaking. "Oh, you can't scare me, Monsieur," 
she said. "I'm not so stupid as to believe that Monsieur Peytoux 



220 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

has come back." Since the priest who had passed, and whom she 
had taken for her master, did not answer, she lifted her head, 
turned around, and saw no one. Then fear began to master her, 
and she went over to some neighbors, quickly, to tell them what had 
just happened and to ask Galy's wife to come and sleep with her. 

(Ill) Anne Maurette, the wife of Ferran (she is still living) 
was going to the mountain, at daybreak, with her donkey, to get a 
load of wood. Passing by the parsonage garden, she saw a priest 
who, with a rosary in his hand, was walking along a path. Just 
as she was going to say to him, "Good-day, sir ; you 've got up 
early," the priest turned his back and went on saying his beads. 
The woman, not wishing to interrupt him in his prayers, continued 
on her way without any thought of a ghost coming into her mind. 
When she was returning from the mountain, with her donkey loaded 
with wood, she met the new priest of Sentenac before the church. 
"You got up early, sir," she said. "I thought that you were going 
on a trip whea I passed by and saw you saying your prayers in 
the garden." — "No, my good woman," the priest answered, "I 
have n't been out of bed long ; I Ve just said holy mass." — "Why, 
then," the woman answered, as though seized with fright, "who 
was the priest who was telling his beads in your garden at day- 
break? He turned his back just as I was going to speak to him. 
I 'd have been scared to death if I 'd thought that it was the priest 
who 's no longer alive. O Lord ! Lord ! I won't have the cour- 
age to go by here again in the morning." 

There, Monsieur, are three occurrences which were not fabricated 
by the morbid imaginations of frightened people. I doubt if science 
can explain them in any natural way. Was it a ghost? I shall 
not say that it was, but, all the same, it was something that Avas 
not natural. 

J. AUGE. 

Such is the story of the teacher in Sentenac. I think with 
d'Assier that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to reject the 
testimonj^, even if all this be inexplicable, as were meteorites 
in the seventeenth century. We may object that after forty- 
five years recollections may have lost their precision. But 



ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 221 

the occurrences were so simple and of so commonplace a na- 
ture that time could not have caused much distortion. I 
should like to remark in this connection that I am writing 
these lines in 1921, and I remember, as though they had hap- 
pened yesterday, certain details of the "War of 1870. I took 
part in it as a captain in the Engineers, and it was my duty 
to keep the Prussians under observation; they were seeking 
to gain a footing on the slopes of Meudon. Shells were fired 
at this spot from the fortresses of Montrouge, Vanves, and 
Issy; these were connected telegraphically with our Muette 
observation-post. My recollections of this are absolutely pre- 
cise. The teacher's story may be accepted as authentic. 

That the worthy priest who had died came back to his 
parsonage, walked up and down there, used his snuff-box, and 
told his beads, at an early morning hour, in the path in which 
he had usually done so — all this seems a tale which our most 
elementary powers of reasoning must reject. 

What then? 

''Stones cannot fall from the sky," said Lavoisier. 

"The earth cannot rotate," said Ptolemy. 

"The sun cannot have spots," declared the followers of 
Aristotle in 1610, to Galileo and to Scheiner. 

"It is impossible to send a telegram across the Atlantic 
Ocean," Babinet, a member of the Institute, maintained. 

' ' The phonograph is a trick of ventriloquism ! ' ' cried Mon- 
sieur Bouillaud, to the members of the Academy of Sciences. 

"Electricity does not cause contortions on the part of 
frogs," Galvani's adversaries stated. 

"Vaccine cannot prevent smallpox," Jenner's colleagues 
declared. 

' ' The fossilized bones of men will never be found, ' ' Elie de 
Beaumont told Boucher de Perthes. Et cetera. 

The author of "L'Humanite posthume" declares that, ac- 
cording to the principles of the positive method, it is unde- 
niable that there are ghosts ; that it is impossible to doubt this. 



222 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

He adds to the stories of apparitions on tlie part of the 
Sentenac priest a fairly large number of similar statements. 
His conclusion, based on doubles of the living as well, is 
that every man — and even every animal — has a double, a 
fluid body, and that this truth is recognizable by virtue of 
the fact that those v^ho have had parts of the body amputated 
feel pain at the extremities of the limbs v^^hich they no longer 
have. By this way of thinking, every person bears in himself 
his fluid replica, which after death becomes his posthumous 
phantom. This ethereal being, when it leaves the body, un- 
dergoes merely a change of environment, and often keeps its 
habits, its ideas, its prejudices. It stays near the spot where 
it was buried, it remains in touch with the persons dear to 
it, and even with the things. But this continuation of our- 
selves does not last long. The phantom is formed of ele- 
ments which are one day dispersed, and revert to the uni- 
verse. These shades exist for a short time only, though a 
few of them do their utmost to maintain their life after 
death to the detriment of the living — vampires, for example. 

I am giving d'Assier's beliefs without holding them my- 
self, despite their ancient Egyptian origin. He does not 
believe in the soul, in the psychic world, and reduces every- 
thing to matter. What he says as to apparitions of the 
dead is none the less interesting. 

Let us deny nothing. But let us not put forward any 
theory. The time has not yet come. Let us give facts, the 
foundations of a future science. Let us investigate all im- 
partially. 

The progress of psychic investigation is due to the work 
of a small number of men who are pushing ahead with a 
self-assured, firm step, without heeding the blows and the 
sarcasm of the opposed philosophic schools. In all periods 
of time the conservative majority of savants has yielded to 
progress only with repugnance and with a bad grace. 

My readers know, absolutely, that a human being filled 



ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 223 

with a desire to announce his death to some one to whom 
he is attached, may affect the mind of this person, at a dis»- 
tancC; in snch a way as to produce in him the desired im- 
pression. Official science long ago characterized by the word 
hallucinations the impressions thus created, but we should 
be clear as to just what this word means. 

When reading Briere de Boismont's standard work, ''Les 
Hallucinations," one feels that he falls far short of ex- 
plaining everything, as he claims to do; he is in agreement 
with the usual teachings of physiologists. Hallucinations, 
as commonly regarded, take the place which the devil occupied 
for a thousand years. Professors of the old school explained 
everything by attributing it to his occult power, the exist- 
ence of which had not been in the least proved. The existi- 
ence of the demons and genii of the Greeks and Hebrews was 
no more fully demonstrated. People are too easily con- 
tented with hypotheses. Hallucinations play the role of the 
devil. It would even seem at times that they are ' ' not worth 
the devil." 

In our present work it is scienti-fically observed occur- 
renses which are of interest to us. I repeat for the thou- 
sandth time that we cannot explain them on the score of 
hallucinations. 

What hallucination can there have been in the following 
case? We are concerned with the apparition of some one 
dead, seen by two independent witnesses. 1 am taking the 
account from a letter sent me from Nantes on March 31, 
1921. 

There were two witnesses of the ease which I am about to submit 
to you. One of them is now living in Nantes^ m the same building 
and on the same floor with my aunt. 

When this witness was a young girl, she had a position as nurse, 
in Paris, with a family which owned a little shop. At the table, 
when the conversation drifted to the general subject of the soul, 
and immortality, the husband said to his wife, "If I die first, and 



224 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

can come back, I will come and see you." Years went by; the 
husband fell ill, and died. Some time afterward the nurse was 
sleeping in the kitchen on the ground floor, behind the shop. She 
heard a noise in the cupboard, as if dishes were breaking. She got 
up, thinking that the cat had caused this noise, but she could 
not find the reason for it. Moreover, not a plate or a glass had 
been broken. Astonished, she went back to bed. The noise began 
again. She had put out the light. She perceived at the foot of 
her bed a whitish form, which grew clearer in outline. In this 
apparition she recognized perfectly her former master. Terrified, 
she did not go to sleep again. When morning came she went up 
to the first floor, to her mistress's apartment, taking her her break- 
fast, as she did every morning. She was struck by her mistress's 
paleness. She questioned her, and got this replj^: "Marie, just 
imagine — last night my husband appeared to me. I recognized him 
perfectly. He spoke to me, and said, 'You see, we don't die ; I 'm 
in need of prayers.' " The mistress said to the nurse, "Go and see 
if the children saw anything, for I 'm uneasy." In an adjoining 
room the two little girls were resting quietly. Then the nurse 
told her mistress what she herself had seen. 

This case seems an interesting one to me, for the apparition 
appeared a rather long time after death, and on the same nighty to 
two persons sleeping, one of them on the ground floor, the other on 
the second floor. These persons had not told each other of their 
experiences. In this case, what becomes of the hypothesis of a 
collective hallucination? 

G. Neberry. 

(Letter 4407.) 

My correspondent has no doubts as to the sincerity of 
either of the two narrators. May we suppose that one of 
them had an illusion which she transmitted, telepathically, 
to the other? But the manifestations were not alike. The 
servant heard the noise of breaking dishes, and the mistress 
a demand for prayers! 

A remarkable case of a mother who appeared to her 



ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 225 

children, to save them from danger, was told of by Lead- 
beater ^ : 

Dr. John Mason Neale relates that a man who had just lost his 
wife was invited, together with his children, to spend a certain 
time at a friend's country house. It was a vast dwelling; in its 
basement there stretched out long, dark passages; the children took 
great pleasure in playing in them and in running through them. 
One day, however, they went up gravely to the floor where the 
older people were, and two of them explained that when they were 
running through one of the passages they had seen their mother. 
She had ordered them not to go any farther, but to turn back; 
when she had said this, she vanished immediately. An investigation 
brought out the fact that if the children had gone a little further 
along this hall, they would have fallen into an open well which lay 
in their path. Their mother, therefore, had saved them from 
certain death. 

This case proves, Leadbeater writes, that the mother, "even on 
the astral plane," had kept her attitude of affectionate concern, 
and her intense desire to protect her children from imminent danger 
had given her, for a moment, as often happens, the power to make 
herself seen and heard by them, or to suggest to them merely that 
they saw and heard her. It is also possible, he adds, that aid was 
given by a different entity which had assumed the familiar form of 
the mother in order not to frighten the children. But the sim- 
plest and by far the most probable hypothesis is that this inter- 
vention was due to ever-vigilant maternal love, which persisted 
even beyond the portals of the grave. 

Since the authenticity of the occurrences was verified, it 
would seem that this interpretation is logical and well 
founded. It is another case to add to those in Chapter III 
of our volume ''At the Moment of Death": ''Thought as a 
Generator of Images Projected to a Distance." 

It would seem to me equally impossible to refuse to admit 

1 The Other Side of Peath, 



226 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

the authenticity of the following manifestation. It occurred 
fifteen days after death.^ An account of it was sent me 
by my learned friend, Profess.or Charles Richet. 

On September 3, 1916, during the attack on the "sunken road" 
(a region between Maurepas and Clery, one of the most hotly 

contested points in the Department of the Somme), D , a 

second lieutenant of the Thirteenth Battalion of Alpine chasseurs, 
was struck by a bullet in both arms, and left the front line to have 
the wounds dressed at the rear. That evening, and for fifteen 
days afterward, he was absent at roll-call. In vain they sought 
in all the ambulances. He was listed as missing. 

On September 8th the Thirteenth Battalion went back to the 
same sector, where the front line had been carried forward about 
three kilometers, thanks to the victory of September 3d. Here, 
now, is the manifestation, an explanation of which must be sought. 

During the night of September 18th-19th M. V (an intimate 

friend of D , the second lieutenant), who was in charge of 

the cannon ("37s") of this same battalion, had a strange dream. 

He saw D at the bottom of a shell-hole, beside the "sunken 

road" in question, at the foot of a willow tree, dying. D re- 
proached him bitterly for letting his best friend die in this way, 
without help. 

M. V , who is a cool, calm, almost skeptical officer, was ob- 
sessed by the dream. He confided it to the head of his battalion. 

Major S , who did not take it too seriously, but who, in order 

to oblige him and to put an end to the thing, granted him a short 
leave of absence in which to make a search in the "sunken road." 

M. V — — reached it. He found the same spot that he had seen 
in his dream. At the foot of the willow was a stake, with this 
inscription: "Here, two French soldiers." Nothing could have 
led him to suspect that there were in this spot the remains which 

he had seen in his dream. Lieutenant Y had a search made. 

He found his friend's body there; it could be identified perfectly 
by various details of the uniform. It had been buried about fifteen 
days before. 

1 Charles Richet's investigation of metaphysical occurrences in the 
armies, Animles des Sciences psycMques, 1919, p. 23. 



ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 227 

The following was a very different occurrence ; it happened 
three weeks after death. 

A grandmother was seen by her two granddaughters ; each 
saw her separately, and there was no communication between 
them. This woman had preserved a noble beauty up to the 
advanced age of eighty-eight, the year of her death. She 
had an old clock, of which she was very fond. It had been 
a wedding present, and she was in the habit of saying that 
this companion of many years was connected with all her 
impressions — with her husband's absences, with her children's 
return from school, with the hour of waking, et cetera. Let 
us listen to the account. One of her granddaughters, Madame 
Judd, writes: 

August 6, 1885. 

One morning in October, three weeks after her death, I saw my 
grandmother distmctly — her face, as always, calm, and her big 
eyes looking at the old clock as usual. I closed my eyes for some 
seconds, then opened them again, and still saw her. I closed my 
eyes a second time, but when I opened them she was no longer 
there. 

Since my family sometimes called me a dreamer, I took care not 
to breathe a word about this vision. 

On the following evening my sister, who is not at all dreamy, 
but most practical, told me in confidence, before we got into bed 
(her bed was beside mine) : "If you'll promise not to make fun 
of me, I 've something to tell you." — "What f — "Well, I saw my 
grandmother this morning." The details which she then gave me 
were in entire accord with what I had seen myself. 

Caroline Judd. 

The narrator adds that although twenty long years have 
gone by since that double vision, the two sisters never speak 
of it without deep emotion. 

A letter from her sister confirmed the authenticity of the 
account. 



228 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

The hypothesis of two separate hallucinations would not 
seem to be admissible. 

An account of the following collective apparition (it 
could not, any more than the last, be attributed to two sepa^ 
rate hallucinations mutually in accord) was given by my 
hard-working friend of long standing, Gabriel Delanne. 
It was taken from Gurney's Memoirs concerning apparitions 
observed shortly after death, apparitions which possessed this 
characteristic in common : they affected three different senses, 
vision, hearing, and the sense of touch. A Miss Lister was 
the narrator. After the death of the husband of one of 
her friends, she had gone to live with this friend, and was 
a witness of the following phenomenon: 

One evening, having been asked, just as she was about to take 
her bath, to go and look for a book that had been left in the drawing- 
room the day before, Miss Lister saw her friend's dead husband 
seated at the table in the drawing-room. His elbow was resting 
on the table, very near the book. 

"The phantom," she related, "seemed to smile, as though he had 
known my thoughts. I took up the book, went to my friend, and 
gave it to her, without telling her what had happened. Then I 
went into the bath-room and thought no more about it. I had not 
been there more than twenty minutes when I heard my friend open 
the drawing-room door. I smiled to myself and Hstened; I wished 
to discover whether the apparition were still there. I heard my 
friend rush out of the room, go downstairs four steps at a time, 
and feverishly ring the bell in the dining-room. A servant came 
running. I dressed myself as quickly as possible, and went down . 
to my friend; I found her pale and trembling. 'What's happened?' 
I asked. 'I 've just seen my husband,' she answered. 'How fool- 
ish!' I replied. 'Oh, no, I saw him distinctly; he spoke to me 
twice. I ran out of the room, but he followed me, and put his icy 
hand on my shoulder.' " 

Were there, here, two mutually unrelated hallucinations? 
We should find difficulty in conceding this. There is some- 



ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 229 

thing at the bottom of it all. The two effects had a cause. 
Here is another occurrence. An account of the appari- 
tion of a father to his children and to their mother was given 
me by a correspondent. There is every evidence that the 
writer's judgment is well balanced and that her sincerity is 
absolute. The communication was sent me from Mans, on 
July 25, 1921. 

I had an account of this happening directly from the person 
who was a witness of it; her whole family witnessed it also. She 
is the daughter of a blacksmith; since she was a child she has been 
in the service of Countess Auguste de Las Cases. She has al- 
ways had the esteem of every one. 

When she was a child, she and her little brothers and sisters 
lived in the same room with their mother. The latter had been a 
widow for only a short time. On one occasion she was resting, 
her head turned toward the wall, and could not, therefore, see 
what was going on in the room, but she heard her children making 
a commotion and shouting : ^'There 's Papa ! There 's Papa !" — 
'^Keep still and go to sleep, children," she said to them. "You 
know very well that your papa has gone to heaven." But the chil- 
dren kept on shouting : "Papa 's there ! There 's Papa !" One 
of the little girls clapped her hands in her joy at seeing her father 
come back. 

The widow finally turned her face toward the room, and saw her 
husband, who spoke to her. He told her, among other things, that 
if he had believed in immortality he would have lived a very differ- 
ent life, and that he regretted not having believed in it with more 
conviction. He took her hand and pressed it very hard. I know no 
more details as to this particular case of reappearance, but it 
seems to me a very remarkable one, since several children and their 
mother witnessed it. The mother's hand was so wounded by the 
ghost's grip that it had to be bandaged for several days. 

I must add that the narrator of this experience is a calm, steady, 
sincere person, and that all the details of it have been known since 
her childhood. I can therefore authorize you to publish this account. 
I can vouch for the fact that I had it direct from the phantom's 



230 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

daughter. I authorize you to give my name and address if you 
think it would be helpful. 

Viscountess de Breuil. 
(Letter 4594.) 

This experience, like all the preceding ones, demands an 
explanation. Was it an hallucination? In the course of my 
rigorous investigation (the estimable narrator v^as good 
enough to take an active part in it) there w^ere no less than 
seven letters written. It appeared from all this correspond- 
ence that Countess de Las Cases commemorated in a little 
poem (I have it before me) the extraordinary apparition, 
and that the widov^'s hand had certainly to be bandaged for 
several days (Letter 4727). The incident occurred fifteen 
days after the death. 

The student of our problems knows that, since the time of 
Cicero's story about Parmenides and Pliny the Younger 's 
story about the ghost of Athens, the dead who have not 
been interred have often manifested a desire to be buried. 
Why ? What difference can it make to them ? Little, it would 
seem to us. So we retain an attachment for our bodies! 
We do not like to see them abandoned. In the following 
experience the same wish to be buried would seem to have 
predominated. An account of it was given us by Dr. Lee 
in his ''Glimpses of the Supernaturar ' (Volume II, page 
61^). He affirms that the account came from trustworthy 
persons, who gave a faithful and sincere report of a most 
striking occurrence. 

Two cattle-raisers, who had entered into partnership, had left 
England and emigrated to Australia; it was not long before they 
owned a fairly large ranch in that country. Suddenly one of the 
partners disappeared; he could not be found. 

One evening, about three weeks afterward, the surviving partner 

1 See Leadbeater, The Other Side of Death. 



ONE WEEK TO ONE MONTH AFTER DEATH 231 

was returning to his hut by a path that skirted a stretch of deep 
water. Dusk was coming on and the sun was setting behind the 
large bushes, thick brush, and luxuriant grass which grows up so 
quickly in this country. Suddenly he perceived his companion's 
form, as real and as living as ever. He was seated on the ground 
beside the pool; his left arm was bent, and rested on one knee. 
The living man was about to rush over to his friend, to speak to 
him, but the form seemed to grow less clear, and the face, gray in 
color, took on an expression of sadness and melancholy which was 
not usual. So he stopped. Then the form gTew more clearly 
visible; it lifted one arm, and, with the index finger of its right 
hand, pointed to a deep hole where the water was calm but black, 
under a tree the branches of which hung down over the surface. 
This gesture was repeated twice, deliberately, then the shade thinned 
out, little by little, and soon vanished utterly. 

The next morning the hole was dragged, and the body of the 
partner who had disappeared was found in the very spot which 
the phantom had pointed out, and given a proper burial. A large 
stone had been tied to the body, and an ax was found (it had been 
hidden at the same spot), doubtless the weapon which the murderer 
had used to commit his crime. It was, moreover, recognized as be- 
longing to a certain vagabond, who was accused and arrested. 
Since important documents belonging to the victim were found on 
him, he was obliged to confess his crime and was executed. 

"We seem to see, here, as in other cases, a desire for burial. 
Together vnth the desire there are indications of other inten- 
tions. We may think that the dead man wished to let his 
partner know what had happened to him. It is possible, 
too, that he was animated by a desire for vengeance on his 
murderer. This desire, moreover, has been the cause of a 
great number of apparitions. 

Why should there be a wish for burial of the corpse? 
It is far from always being expressed, if we may draw conclu- 
sions from the innumerable men killed in the terrible Ger- 
man war. Perhaps, taken as a whole, they were not able 



232 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

to manifest themselves. Perhaps only certain believers wish 
for burial. Perhaps those who are indifferent to it are the 
most numerous. 

We might add to the foregoing occurrences the discovery 
of Edouard Boner's body (^'Annales psychiques/' 1910, page 
191). He was an Italian poet who was buried among the 
ruins of Messina at the time of the earthquake in 1908. The 
discovery was due to the apparition of the poet, in a dream, 
t6 a little girl, a friend of his family. This chapter might 
be twice, three times its length. But we must hasten on to 
the following manifestations. 

Let us note that, as in Chapters IV, V, VI, we have re- 
mained outside the sphere of spiritistic experiments. 



VIII 

MANIFESTATIONS AND APPARITIONS, PROM ONE MONTH 
TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 

Do not believe anything merely be- 
cause it is hallowed by tradition. Do 
not believe anything merely on the au- 
thority of your elders or your instructors. 
But what you yourselves have tried and 
found to be true — this you may accept 
as real. 

The Sayings of Buddha, 

THE four chapters just read have presented accounts 
of a certain number of manifestations and appari- 
tions of the dead which occurred anywhere from the 
time of dissolution up to a month from the extinction of 
terrestrial life. We shall continue our independent investi- 
gations in the same chronological order. The following oc- 
currences took place from one month to one year after death. 
I received, a long time ago, before my investigations of 
1899 (in December, 1896), the following odd communication. 
It was sent me by a learned member of the Institute, Charles 
Naudin the botanist, head of the Laboratory of Higher Edu- 
cation in Antibes, Villa Thuret. It concerned the appari- 
tion of some one dead, an apparition the authenticity of which 
it is difficult to doubt. Moreover, my duty as a scientist is to 
seek to explain it. I had had occasion, during my stay at the 
Observatory in Nice, some years before, to spend a day at 
Antibes, with the head of this observatory, my friend Per- 
rotin, and with Victorien Sardou, my colleague in a psychic 
investigation many years before (1858-64), who had wished 
to go with us. We had talked of these problems and the 
questions connected with them. Here is Monsieur Naudin 's 
letter : 

233 



234 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Antibes, December 2d, 1896. 
My dear Colleague: 

Since the kind visit you made us some years ago, such painful 
things have happened at the Villa Thuret that I have not the 
courage to dwell upon them. I wish to tell you of a strange occur- 
rence, that cannot fail to interest you. It concerns a subject with 
which you have long busied yourself, and in which I am as in- 
terested as you. 

It was on the twenty-sixth of last June that the occurrence took 
place, in Denain (Nord). A nun belonging to the Order of Dames 
de la Sainte-Union (the seat of the mother superior is in Douai, 
and there is a branch in Denain) had been sent to the main convent 
to help the sister in charge of the kitchen, who was then swamped 
with work. Before she left, the mother superior, who was very ill 
of cancer of the stomach and felt her end approaching, had asked 
the nun in question to promise to pray for her, and the nun had 
made the promise. The sick woman died sometime during the first 
days in May. 

Five or six weeks afterward — that is to say on the twenty-sixth 
of the following June — this same nun, who was assisting in the 
washing of clothes, and who had her sleeves rolled up to the elbow, 
was sent down to the cellar to draw some beer. There, without 
her having become aware of the presence through any other sense, 
she saw another nun beside her, and recognized in her the mother 
superior who had died some weeks before. The apparition gave her 
bare arm a hard pinch, causing her intense pain, and said to her, 
"Pray, for I'm suffering." All this had taken place in less time 
than it takes to tell it. The poor sister, terrified, climbed the cellar 
stairs precipitately and dropped down on a near-by bench more 
dead than alive. 

Those who were washing, finding that she did not return with the 
beer, went to see what had become of her. They found her on the 
bench, so agitated that she could barely tell them that she had been 
cruelly pinched. She showed them her arm, on which, to the stupe- 
faction of those present, there were discovered five red marks, such 
as bums make. There were four on one side, and a fifth, on the 
other side of her arm, which was broader and deeper. This was 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 235 

the place where the dead woman's thumb had pressed. It was as 
if an iron hand, heated in the fire until it was red, had seized the 
sister's arm. It was not long before blisters appeared on the parts 
affected. 

They summoned Dr. Toison, the physician of the order, to take 
care of the wounded woman. After having taken a photograph of 
the burns, he gave directions as to what must be done to effect a 
cure. The places healed, leaving, however, five scars which bear 
witness to the reality of the accident. Dr. Toison, a distinguished 
practising physician, is a professor of the faculty of the Lille 
Charity Clinic. He is also the physician of the order in Denain. 

The veracity of the persons who witnessed the occurrence cannot 
be doubted. Was the sister's vision subjective? But the burn was 
only too objective. 

I submit all this to your judgment. Please allow me, dear col- 
league, to express my esteem, together with my best wishes for the 
new year. 

Chaeles Naudin, 
Member of the Institute. 

The learned botanist went on to request me to ask readers 
of the ''Petit Marseillais, " to which I was sending articles 
on popular science from time to time, if there were those 
among them who had observed phenomena of the same sort 
which proved indubitably that a dead person may manifest 
himself in some way. "This," he added, ''is a problem 
which has been asked for thousands of years, and it is 
truly regrettable that, in spite of so many authentic stories, 
there is no answer to it." 

I published his letter in the ' ' Petit Marseillais, ' ' but not un- 
til May 25, 1899, since I was swamped by too much work, and 
I added the following comments: 

This occurrence, however strange it be, and granting that the 
account is absolutely true, does not lead to any certainty. 

(1) The apparition of the dead sister may have been an hallueina- 



236 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

tion. Delusive images, optical illusions occur in certain cases. 
Books on hallucinations are full of such cases; it would be super- 
fluous to give any of them here. 

(2) The case of the stigmata of the five fingers on the nun's bare 
arm is a rarer phenomenon. But autosuggestion gives rise, at 
times, to results of this sort, and by a recent experiment a blister 
was produced on a certain person's arm simply through suggestion. 

This story, therefore, does not prove the reality of the mother 
superior's apparition. We do not say that the apparition did not 
manifest itself; we know nothing about this. There are but two 
possible hypotheses; the reality of the apparition on the one hand, 
and, on the other, hallucination and autosuggestion. As between 
the two hypotheses, we choose the second through preference, be- 
cause it is more "scientific" and seems more natural to us. 

The doubt I expressed in 1899 would seem to me, to-day, 
to be partially cleared away by the numerous occurrences 
which I have been comparing for the twenty-two years 
since then.^ The probability in favor of the objective reality 
of these phenomena has gradually increased, in my mind; 
it even amounts to a certainty in absolutely characteristic 
cases. 

More than one experience similar to that of the nun is 
known. There is even one other account having to do with 
an apparition in a cellar, appearing to some one going to 
get some beer. Here it is: 

An old woman, now dead, had long been in service with my 
family. She had ended by filling the position of concierge on our 
estate. We had absolute confidence in her; she was a sensible 
woman. This is what she related. One day, when a comrade had 
called on her husband, the latter had sent her to the cellar to 

1 There have been cases of impressions made by phantoms on inani- 
mate objects — tables, cloth, furniture — which cannot be attributed to 
autosuggestion. I have no space in which to give them here, and can 
only hold them in reserve for another book. Some remarkable ex- 
amples will be found in Luce e Omhra (Dec. 1910). 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 237 

get beer. When she was going upstairs she thought that she saw 
her dead father, most distinctly; he was going downstairs. Full 
of fear, she pressed back against the wall, to let this phantom 
pass; he did not seem to see her. ^ 

These impressions and spontaneous experiences which re- 
semble one another are, assuredly, most bizarre. But, we can- 
not refrain from remarking, once more, that things hehave as 
if the dead manifested themselves, either intentionally or 
for an unknown reason. 

Let us record the occurrences. It is our duty. 

One of the oldest and most venerable members of the 
Astronomical Society of France, Monsieur Louis Cremiere, 
wrote me from Bordeaux, on March 30, 1899: 

I am one of the twelve members of long standing whom you 
mentioned last May in your speech at the General Assembly; 
your books are my constant companions. Three years ago I 
lost a wife who had made me happy for fifty-five years. Since 
my misfortune I have been living in her room, surrounded by all 
the thing's which remind me of her. One evening last winter I 
was reading; the room was lighted by an oil lamp, with a white 
paper shade, which allowed a softened light to illuminate all the 
objects about. Suddenly, by the lateral vision well known to 
astronomers, I saw my dear wife in the corner that was least 
brightly lighted. It was a curious thing that when I looked at 
the vision directly, it disappeared, to my great unhappiness. I 
made this experiment three times. What explanation can there 
be? 

(Letter 350.) 

The writer of the letter is a scientist, possessed of perfect 
coolness. He did not doubt the reality of the occurrence; 
he simply asked himself why the apparition could be seen 
by oblique refraction through the crystalline, and not by di- 

1 Anrmles des Sciences psychiques, 1894, p. 272. 



238 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

rect vision. In studying astronomy — ^when we look at the 
stars — we explain this peculiarity on the supposition that the 
retina is more fatigued and less sensitive in the center. All 
astronomical observers have grown aware of this peculiarity 
of vision. 

I shall give some of the numerous accounts I received 
during this period. The following letter was sent me from 
Montbeliard, on March 26, 1899 : 

It was sixteen years ago, one month after my husband's death, 
which occurred in August, 1883. One night, when I had awak- 
ened, I heard the door of my room open; then I heard steps 
and saw my dead husband draw near my bed. He pressed my 
right side to him, very hard, without saying a single word. As- 
tounded, I did not speak. Then he went away, and I leaned out 
of my bed to watch him go (this proves, absolutely that I was 
awake.) I heard steps again, and heard the door close once more. 

Long afterward, I still felt pain in my side. I shall ask you 
to give only my initials in case you publish this. 

C. H. 

(Letter 210.) 

The happenings would seem to have been noted coolly: 
(1) The door was opened. (2) Steps were heard. (3) 
The husband was seen. (4) A pain began in the wife's 
side. (5) The husband left. (6) The door was closed. 
f(7) The pain in the wife's side persisted. It is difficult to 
suppose that there was an hallucination in this case. 

The following is another account, sent me at that same 
period. It was mailed on April 5, 1899. I was asked to 
give it anonymously. 

My mother and my sister — about a month after my mother's 
brother-in-law, our uncle, had died — were witnesses of an apparition 
of him. They saw this on different dates — my mother about a 
month after the death, and my sister fifteen days later still. 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 239 

My mother saw it spontaneously, without previous warning. As 
for my sister, she was on this occasion alone in a room. She was 
astonished to hear some one walking in a hall near my mother's 
room. She went into the hall and found herself in the presence 
of the apparition, which vanished immediately. I must add that 
my sister had learned of the apparition seen by my mother. 

L. B. 

(Letter 532.) 

Was this a double hallucination? We are seeking truth. 
Let us continue to compare examples. It seems to me that 
my readers will, like me, attain to certainty, if they have not 
already attained to it by reason of the cases given in the 
preceding chapters. We have already learned hov^ varied 
these happenings are, and how difficult it is to interpret 
them. 

Here is one of them, that is both indubitable and inex- 
plicable. Dr. L. Arnoux of Guadeloupe, related it, stating 
that it was an experience of one of his patients, about one 
month after the death of the latter's wife. He wrote me: 

Marie Galante, Guadeloupe, 
June 18, 1899. 

I was called in to render professional services to the wife; she 
was carried off, in forty-eight hours, by a violent fever. The 
husband and wife, who already had three children, had a happy 
home life; they were united by bonds of deep affection. Here is 
the husband's authentic story: 

"It was about four o'clock in the morning. I was lying on a 
mattress about a meter away from my bed, on which I had not 
slept since my wife's death. I had been awake for some moments, 
and was smoking a cigarette which I had just lighted, when I heard 
the noise of steps on the stairway which ends at my room. I 
hstened; the noise grew louder and louder; I looked in the direc- 
tion from which it seemed to come. I saw my wife enter, pass 
rapidly between the bed and the mattress, cross the room, and 
kneel down before a little altar in a comer. She rose almost im- 



240 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

mediately and retraced her steps, going in the direction of the 
stairway. As she was passing near me I stretched out my arms 
toward her instinctively, as if to catch her dress, and cried out, 
^LoulouteP the given name by which I usually called her. But, 
passing me rapidly, she avoided me. Teace, Fernand!' she said, 
in imperative tones, and at once she reached the stairs, where she 
disappeared. 

"Then I rose abruptly, went down to the ground floor by this 
same stairway, and went through all the rooms carefully. I found 
them all locked." 

L. Arnoux. 

(Letter 673.) 

The husband did not understand the apparition in the 
least, and v^e do not understand it any better than he. It 
is always easy to escape from the dilemma by using the orac- 
ular word hallucination. But is that an explanation of oc- 
currences so varied? In this case, the observer was wide 
awake, smoking a cigarette, listening and looking closely. 

Let us continue to inspect our panorama, in chronological 
order. The following narration concerns a reflected form, 
seen six weeks after death by six persons. 

Mr. Charles A. W. Lett, a member of the London Military 
and Royal Naval Club, wrote on December 3, 1885 ^ : 

On April 5, 1873, my wife's father. Captain Towns, died at his 
home in Cranbrook Rosebay, near Sydney, New South Wales. 
About six weeks after his death my wife went into one of the 
bedrooms of the house at about nine o'clock in the evening. She 
was accompanied by a young woman, a Miss Berthon. As they 
entered the room (the gas was lighted) they were surprised to 
see Captain Towns's image reflected on the polished surface of 
the cupboard. They could see half his body: his head, his shoul- 
ders, and his arms. It was not unlike a life-sized portrait. His 
face was pale and thin, as it had been before his death, and he 

1 Phantasms of the Living, II, 213. Hallucinations telepathiques, 
p. 359. 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 241 

had on a gray flannel jacket in which he had been in the habit 
of going to bed. Surprised and half afraid, they thought at first 
that they were looking at the reflection of a portrait in the room; 
but there was nothing of the sort there. 

While they were gazing at it, my wife's sister. Miss Towns, came 
in. Before the others had spoken to her, she cried, "Good Heavens! 
Look at Papa!" One of the chambermaids was passing on the 
stairs at that moment. She was called, and they asked her if 
she saw anything; her reply was, "Oh, Miss! — the master!" They 
sent for Graham, the captain's orderly, and he cried at once, "God 
preserve us, Mrs. Lett ! it 's the captain !" The steward was called, 
then Mrs. Crane, my wife's nurse, and both of them said they 
saw him. At length they asked Mrs. Towns to come. When she 
saw the apparition she went forward, her arms outstretched as 
though to touch it, but as she advanced, holding out her hand 
toward the panel in the cupboard, the likeness gradually disap- 
peared. It was never seen afterward, though the room was often 
occupied. 

Such were the actual circumstances; it is impossible to doubt 
them. 

The undersigned, after having read the above account, guarantee 
its authenticity. Both of us witnessed the apparition. 

Sara Lett. 
SiBBiE Smith (nee Towns). 

Mrs. Lett assures us that neither she nor her sister had 
ever had any other hallucinations. She is certain that the wit- 
nesses recognized the apparition independently, and that 
this recognition was due to no suggestion on the part of the 
persons who were in the room. 

But why was there a portrait on the cupboard, and not a 
bodily replica? How was the image produced? What was 
this momentary, transcendental photography, seen by six per- 
sons ? Was it a collective hallucination ? A case of thought- 
transmission ? What are these expressions but mere 
words ? 



242 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

The following account of an apparition of a dead woman, 
a month and a half after dissolution, was sent me from 
Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, in a letter dated April 15, 1921, 
by Monsieur Gilbert de Chambertrand : 

About 1896 my wife and my sister-in-law were living with their 
father, in Saint-Frangois (Guadeloupe). A lady, a friend of the 
family, had been dead for about a month and a half; she was 
the godmother of one of the young girls; they called her "Aunt 
Armande." The two sisters were going to the first mass; it was 
about half-past five in the morning. They were going downstairs, 
the elder in front, when they saw a form standing at the bottom 
of the stairs. The elder said to her sister, ^'There's some one 
there!" They went on down to the strange form, and the younger, 
looking attentively, cried out, "Aunt Armande!" They collapsed 
from fright. A cry brought their father, but nothing more was to 
be seen. The lady's replica had been seen very distinctly by the 
two sisters. Her arms were crossed, her eyes bright; a veil cov- 
ered her head and fell down on one side. 

The apparition had remained motionless and dumb. 

(Letter 4623.) 

It is more and more questionable, always to attribute every- 
thing to causeless illusions. There are too many cases, without 
ascertainable causes. 

An account of a manifestation on the part of some one 
dead, two months after dissolution, was given, with reserva- 
tions, in that chapter of Volume II of the present work 
that deals with cases in which deaths were announced by 
physical phenomena : a brother was seen by his sister in a 
dream; he told her that a ring she had entrusted to him 
had been taken from his finger at the moment of his death. 
We let it be understood that the manifestation might be at- 
tributed not to the dead man but to a living person's sub- 
conscious mind. Nevertheless it cannot be proved that the 
man who had died had nothing to do with the dream. The 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 243 

incident (page 256) should be read once more, and compared 
with the one just given. 

As we see, these were manifestations two months after 
death. Here is an account of another, sent me in a letter 
dated May 25, 1899 : 

Last year, in the month of April, an uncle of my father died 
in Marseilles. At that period we were all living there; when we 
came to live here, in Luc (Var), we left my sister with her aunt, 
the dead man's niece. My sister had dearly loved this uncle, and, 
during the hours when his remains were being watched, she had 
made a vow to pray for him. 

At this point I shall let her continue the story: 

^^One day (he had been dead for about two months) I was alone 
in the house, sewing, and my cat was lying on a chair before 
me. Suddenly I saw it get up, look to one side of me and 
spit — pfif! — as it does when it is angry or when it sees strangers. 
At the same time I heard a barely perceptible voice say to me, 
^MarieF I felt on my shoulder the weight and sensation of a 
hand pressing down hard. 

"My sewing fell from my hands. I wished to get up, but the 
hand still gripped my shoulder. Then I thought: 'Good Heavens, 
it 's my poor godfather who 's come back to ask me to pray for 
him! For several days I\e forgotten my usual prayer.' 

"The pressure ceased as I thought this. Nevertheless, to find 
out whether or not the cat had spat at some one, I opened the 
door of the little adjoining room. There was nothing there; there 
was no one in the hallway. Since then I have always said a 
prayer for my uncle, and have felt nothing more." 

I believe neither in phantoms nor in ghosts, for I know that 
our imagination makes us see things that do not exist. But in this 
case? And the cat's behavior? 

Madame H. Pontet, Jr., 

Luc, Var. 

This occurrence is equally inexplicable. Why are these 
frequent demands for prayers made? 



244 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

We can see how all these phenomena concerning the dead, 
pile up. Here is another one, that is very strange. A doc- 
tor's mother, who had been dead for three months, made a 
very useful little revelation to him, in unexpected circum- 
stances. 

In 1896 the "Revue Spirite" published a letter signed "Manfred 
Meyer/' giving a case in which a spirit's identity was established. 
The experiment took place at St. Paul (Brazil) ; hypnotism was 
used. The case seemed to Dr. Hodgson sufficiently worthy of no- 
tice to justify his making an investigation, the results of which 
were, in the main, confirmative. Here is the story as told in the 
"Journal of the Psychical Society," for 1898 (pages 281-295). 

Dr. 0. Vidigal lives in the Allee du Triomphe, with his family, 
consisting of his wife, his two sons, and his old father. His 
mother died three years ago. Since he needed a young maid- 
servant, he went to the bureau of immigration. There he took 
into his service a young Spanish girl, twelve years old. She had 
arrived that same day, and did not know a word of Portuguese. 

The child's father had died. The same evening on which she 
entered Dr. Vidigal's service, the latter had a visit from Monsieur 
Edouard Silva, who had been born in Gibraltar, and who spoke 
Spanish fluently. 

Monsieur Silva asked for a glass of water, and the child brought 
it to him. Since he was a good hypnotist, he asked her, moved 
by a remarkable intuition, if she would let herself be hypno- 
tized. She consented, and, a few moments afterward, fell into a 
trance. 

Suddenly, opening her eyes, she said that she saw exceedingly 
beautiful things, and asked them not to interrupt her vision. After 
some moments of silent contemplation she declared that she saw 
her own father, speaking to her, and she lifted her hand to her 
ear, as an ear-trumpet, to listen. Her father told her that an 
old lady, then present, had a communication to make to Dr. Vidigal, 
and she gave such an exact description of this old lady that in- 
timates of the family recognized, in her, the doctor's dead mother. 
Then the lady's spirit, through the little girl as a medium, ordered 



i 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 245 

her son to go into the room in which she had lived; no one had 
gone into it since her death. There he would find, she said, a 
black silk garment hanging on the wall, and in this garment a 
pocket with the sum of 75,000 reis (about five hundred francs) 
sewed up in it; she wished this sum to he given to her husband. 

Those who were present did not attach any great importance 
to this revelation, but the intimates of the family, taking into 
consideration the fact that the child had been with them only one 
day, and could not have found out what she had told them, decided 
to verify the thing. Dr. Vidigal had a great deal of trouble in 
opening the door, for the lock was rusty. He went into the room, 
accompanied by Dr. Silva and three persons desirous of knowing 
the result of the investigation. A garment of black silk was hang- 
ing on the wall, and they found in it a sewn-up pocket which 
contained exactly the sum indicated. 

It appeared from the investigation made by Dr. Hodgson and 
Professor Alexander that neither the seer nor the hypnotist could 
have known how the dead woman looked, or anything about her 
clothing, and that Monsieur Silva had known Dr. Vidigal only 
after the latter's mother had died. They learned, too, that at the 
time of the old lady's death Dr. Vidigal was in financial diffi- 
culties, and that he had barely been able to meet the funeral ex- 
penses. This is an important point, for one may well imagine 
that if he had known of the existence of this money, he would 
not have left it where it was. 

Here are Dr. Hodgson's conclusions: 

"We could admit that there was thought-transmission on Dr. 
Vidigal's part had Frangoise (the seer) merely confined herself to 
descriptions of things of a physical nature, such as the dead 
woman's person and the clothes which she had worn on her death- 
bed. But in the case of the designated sum, sewed into a pocket, 
we are obliged to admit that the dead woman alone knew of this, 
and that the revelation came, at least in part, from this disem- 
bodied entity." 

Can v^e accuse a child less than two years old of imagin,- 
ing things that have no real existence, and concede that there 



246 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

was an hallucination, without external cause, in the following 
visual impression? We are concerned with the spontaneous 
apparition of the child's grandmother, who had been dead 
for three months. The account given was sent in by Mon- 
sieur Gabard, parish priest of Saint-Aubin.^ The parents 
are speaking: 

On Sunday, January 12, 1891, about six o'clock in the evening, 
Ernest, our little boy, aged twenty-three months and twelve days, 
was on his father's knee in the chimney-corner, in the kitchen. 
He began to wriggle, and cried: "Lady! Up there! Lady!" He 
got down and climbed the stairs which led to the upper room, 
above the kitchen. We followed him with a candle, gTeatly puz- 
zled. As soon as he reached the second floor, he ran to the bed 
in which his grandmother had died three months and a half before, 
on September 26, 1890. Since he did not see her, he went all 
around the room looking for her. At last he saw her at the win- 
dow and ran to her, crying: '^Lady! Grandmamma! Oh, pretty 
lady!" — smiling, stretching out his little arms to take her in them. 
When he reached the window, the vision, it would seem, moved 
to the corner of the room, where he followed it, but without be- 
ing able to seize it. Finally it moved to the window, where it 
vanished. There he made signs to it; spoke to it: "Good-by. 
Oh, pretty Grandmamma . . . Gone . . . Don't see any more ; let 's 
go away" — all this in his childish language, so easily understood. 

The next day he went up again several times without seeing 
anything. In the afternoon of the day following that, he went up, 
carried by his mother. He looked about for some time; at length 
he saw her, for about five minutes, and greeted her once more: 
"How d' y' do, Grandmamma ! Oh, pretty Grandmamma !" 

Ernest was nineteen and a half months old when his grand- 
mother died. He loved her dearly. He had never seen her ex- 
cept in the bed in which she died after eight months of a long 
and very cruel illness. Ernest is neither more nervous nor more 
intelligent than other children of his age. When he was asked 
where his grandmother was, he used to answer that she had gone 

1 Annales des Sciences psychiques, 1894, p. 7. 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 247 

to heaven, without knowing what that meant. She had not been 
mentioned for several days before the manifestation, 

Bremond (Joseph). 

Madame Bremond. 

Monsieur Gabard adds that, according to the factory rec- 
ords, Ernest Bremond was born on February 8, 1889, and that 
the v^idow Chardonneau, his grandmother, died on September 
26, 1890. He obtained the above information from the Bre- 
monds' own lips; they signed the account. ''I declare," he 
states, ''on my honor, that I believe them incapable (knowing 
them well) of distorting in any way what they believe to be 
the truth. The husband is a hired farm laborer ; the wife is 
a dealer in groceries, vdth a family of children. Both are 
little given to flights of the imagination." 

Here is another occurrence; this, too, took place during 
the first year after death. The following communication 
^as sent me from Algiers on April 27, 1921: 

Dear Master: 

Since I was twenty I have been an assiduous reader of your 
books! I am now sixty. I had not felt that I dared write you, 
but I have been assured that you will read my letter. 

My husband died five years ago. I left my apartment, sold 
everything, and went to the home of one of my sons. Three months 
after my husband's death I had returned from the country, where 
I had spent a day; there I had hardly thought of my husband at all. 
I went to bed; it was dark in the room. With my eyes open, 
I saw my husband before me, in a suit of clothes which he had 
worn out a long time before. His expression was mild and calm; 
it was as though his face were lighted up. His features were not 
bright, but were clear and distinct and seemed unsubstantial. I 
asked myself if it were really he. He bent over and kissed me. 
"This is an illusion," I told myself. I also perceived an odor 
of menthol (when he was alive, he always had a stick of it with 
him, because he suffered from headaches). Again I thought that 
this could not be possible. Mechanically I passed my tongue over 



248 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

my lips and tasted something slightly bitter; I did not know 
whether or not it was the taste of the menthol. "Is that really 
you?" I asked. Slowly he vanished. I have not seen him since, 
and have rarely dreamed about him. 

Was this an illusion? I have never had any others. 

V. Schwartz. 

(Letter 4472.) 

It would seem that if these were hallucinations, people 
w'ould have more than one of them in their lives. This in^ 
explicable occurrence took place three months after dissolu- 
tion. 

We may suppose that the dead husband thought of his 
wife with intensity, and that his thought was transmitted 
in the simplest and most direct way possible. The follow- 
ing transmission, also several months after death, took quite 
another form ; that of sound. The account was sent me from 
Crest, Drome, on August 26, 1921. 

My grandfather, Monsieur Vertupier (former Assistant Paris 
Postmaster, in retirement in Crest (Drome) had been dead for 
some months. 

I was about eight years old at the time. After his retirement 
my grandfather had been accustomed — in order that he might re- 
main active and keep his limbs in condition — to taking a simple 
sort of gymnastic exercise, when he got out of bed. This consisted 
of walking to and fro in his room, stretching out his arms and 
drawing them in as he inhaled and exhaled. I had seen him, more 
than twenty times, taking this exercise, and had very often heard 
the sound of his Turkish slippers sliding over the floor, dragging 
a little. 

Some months after his death (I could give you the date, if it 
would interest you) I was in his suite of rooms, in which we had 
lived ever since he died. It was six o'clock on a winter evening. 
I was in the dining-room; it was divided off from my grandfather's 
bedroom by an open door, before which curtains hung. I was 
reading a book for children, "Les belles images." 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 249 

I was reading this, and thinking of nothing else, when I heard 
very distinctly, in the adjoining room, the slippers treading the 
floor rhythmically, just as my grandfather used to do. A mad 
terror came over me, and I wished to call my mother, but could 
not; the steps drew near the curtain which divided the rooms. 
My mother came up at that moment, and I fled away with her, 
but without daring to tell her what had happened. It was only 
the next morning, in broad daylight, that I told her of it, weep- 
ing, but she thought it merely a childish story, and paid no at- 
tention to it. 

Since reaching an age of reflection (I am now thirty) I have 
gone over that evening, in memory, and I am absolutely certain 
that I again heard this noise, which had so often reached my ears. 

R. Marcellin, 

(Letter 4632.) Crest. 

Alv^ays to attribute these impressions to ingenuous illusions 
leads to no satisfactory hypothesis. The narrator heard the 
noises. Where did they come from? Was it a continuation 
of the grandfather's habits in his apartment? What an odd 
idea! Happenings of the same sort have been observed for 
centuries' — among others, that concerning the parish priest in 
Sentenac (page 218). Here is, another experience, which re- 
minds us of several similar ones, equally incomprehensible : 

A member of the K family, living in the village of Bisch- 

heim, near Strasburg, had been drafted into the German Army 
and was killed by a bursting shell, at Verdun. About six months 
after his death, his body was brought to Bischheim, to be buried 
in the cemetery. At two o'clock the corpse, which was at the rail- 
way station, was taken from the baggage-car and put into the 
hearse. A certain number of relatives had gathered, to be with 
the young widow, in the deceased man's house. Suddenly, just 
when the body was being placed in the hearse, a decorative plate 
which the dead man had hung on the wall several years before, 
when he and his wife were setting up housekeeping, was thrown 
violently and obliquely; it fell to the floor. Those present were 



250 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

deeply agitated, for they had the impression that an invisible hand 
had seized the plate and hurled it. 
(Letter 4100.) 

This may have been mere chance. But, confronted with the 
simple incident, we may also think that the poor dead soldier's 
soul was the cause of it. When the worthy workman had 
arranged the decorations in his home, he had been interested 
in ornamenting his dining-room with a row of plates. He 
set great store by those plates, it seems. His body was 
brought back; it was about to be carried to the graveyard. 
He took up one of the plates and threw it to the floor. This 
was a strange idea, we think. Wliy this expression of dis;- 
content? Perhaps we understand it only too well. It was 
commonplace, it was vulgar, it was all that we like to say 
of it. But that is what happened. Doubtless the dead man 
had in the other world the same mentality as in this life. 
That must be more or less the case with every one. 

On May 25, 1899, I received the following letter from 
Marseilles : 

Allow me to tell you, for your instructive investigations, of 
something that happened to me personally. 

I am forty-two years old. I was brought up in a religious at- 
mosphere; unfortunately for me, I lost my faith as a result of 
the misfortunes without number which have afflicted me for many 
years — and are still afflicting me without truce or mercy. I scarcely 
believe any longer. But I am bringing up my child as I myself 
was brought up, happy to see in him the faith and the religious 
feeling which were the joy of my youth. 

I have, therefore, no prejudices; I suggest no explanation; on 
the contrary, I shall analyze, coldly, what follows: 

Ten years ago, at two o'clock in the morning, my father died, 
suddenly, in my arms. All the proper religious observances were 
complied with, and masses — ^though not in sufficient numbers, per- 
haps — ^were said for him. 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 251 

One night, at two o'clock, six months afterward, my wife and 
I were awakened by a lively scratching in the bed-curtains. 

Then every night, at the same hour, the scratching began again, 
each time in a different place in the room. 

Every night I would get up and light the gas, but I could find 
nothing. 

I had the upholsterer come. The bed was taken to pieces, — 
both the hangings and the top covering, — for I thought mice might 
be in it. But not a trace of anything was found. 

On those same nights, at the same hour, my mother, who was 
living on our estate, was awakened by the beating of wings in 
her room. 

It goes without saying that there was no trace of anything 
there, either. 

We thought of my father, and had masses said, and since then 
we have never heard anything more. 

I must add this detail: whenever I was awakened, it was always 
at two o'clock in the morning. 

I must add, too, that on the second or third night on which we 
were awakened, my wife thought of my father and confided her 
thoughts to me. Immediately, without the slightest fear, I said 
aloud, ^Tapa, if that's you, speak or appear to us." The noise 
ceased at once. 

So far as I am concerned (my coolness is said to be extraor- 
dinary), I have no doubts as to this manifestation. I am very 
sure that there was no autosuggestion on my part, for I analyzed 
my impressions at the moment when I had them. 

This took place in Bordeaux, in 1889. 

My name is for you alone. 

A. T. 

(Letter 702.) 

This strange manifestation, which took two forms, leads 
us to admit: 

(1) That the narrator's father survived after death. 

(2) That his Catholic beliefs persisted after his death. 

(3) That he grew quiet when these beliefs were respected. 



252 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

It is our duty to record such happenings in all frankness. 
We shall explain them later — if we can. 

The following communication, of the same sort, was sent 
m,e from Russia, on June 12, 1899 : 

In 1847 I had gone with my husband to the home of my cousin, 
who had just bought a farm. And since a great many of his 
relatives had gone that day to felicitate him, and there was not 
enough room, beds for my husband and me had been placed in 
the parlor. About three o'clock in the morning I awakened, grad- 
ually, and saw a gentleman in the middle of the room. That hap- 
pened more than forty years ago, and I can still see his face 
clearly! The gentleman — ^who was unknown to me — said: "I died 
in this room; I need your prayers; pray to the Holy Virgin for 
the repose of my soul. My name is Jean." 

It is astonishing that I was not in the least afraid. I got down 
on my knees at once, to pray. My husband, who was sleeping 
in the same room, saw nothing and heard nothing, but he saw me 
praying. After the prayer I fell asleep again, quietly. 

The next day when I questioned my cousin, he told me that 
a gentleman named Jean (I forget his family name) had died 
there. 

Two days afterward the deceased man's widow, who lived twelve 
versts away, came to tell us that on the same night on which I 
had prayed she had dreamed that her dead husband asked her to 
come and thank me for my prayer. I must add that the lady 
was unknown to me. 

I am, sir, seventy-three years old; at my age people tell only 
the simple truth. I should not dare to write you if the occur- 
rence were not authentic and if it had not remained in my memory 
during my whole life. 

Helene Danitovitch, 

(Letter 668.) Tyraspol, Russia. 

It is indeed difficult to deny that the deceased man (un- 
known to the narrator) appeared in the death-chamber. 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 253 

These demands for prayers continue to surprise me. But it 
is only honest to tell of them here. 

Monsieur Moreillon, an architect (102 rue Reaumur), gave 
Monsieur Vetter the following account: 

A young man had been brought up in Alsace by his grand- 
mother (his parents had died young), whom he had lost when he 
was anywhere from twenty to twenty-five years old. From that 
time on, he lived in his grandmother's room; it contained, among 
other pieces of furniture, an arm-chair in which she had loved 
to sit. One night, several months afterward, she appeared to 
him, seated in this arm-chair. He rubbed his eyes, struck a light, 
and saw her for a moment more. Then he noticed that his dog, 
whose favorite bed the arm-chair was, was not in it. He ended 
by discovering him hidden under the bed, and trembling all over. 
Never again did the dog jump up into the arm-chair. 

The story given below is still stranger. 

An estimable correspondent had told me that a nun — the 
head of a Home for Aged Men — ^had, personally, both seen 
and heard an apparition of some one dead, under conditions 
indicative of authenticity, which rendered the case worthy of 
special attention. As a result I went to this Home, that I 
might speak directly to the nun, and be able to judge, as 
exactly as possible, of the impressions which she might have 
had. Here is what she told me, asking me not to give her 
name, or that of her order: 



I only told it to the priest, and I 'm astonished that the story 
of it has spread. It did n't happen here, but in a convent in 
the North, where I was several years ago. 

It was half-past nine in the morning. I had taken charge of 
the children, and had just left them. When I drew near the iron 
fence surrounding the convent I noticed that the entrance gate 
was open. I went to close it, and, reaching it, I saw a priest 
leaning against it. He was poorly dressed; in his hand he held 
a stick, made of the branch of a tree, and a little bag, like a 



254 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

beggar. He also had in his hand a large yellow checked hand- 
kerchief. Surprised by this costume, I asked him what he wished. 

"I'd like a mass/' he answered. 

"There are no more masses at the convent at tliis hour," I 
replied, "but if you go to the church, you might perhaps hear 
one." 

Then I went with him down the three steps at the entrance, and, 
leading him along the iron fence, I pointed out the most direct 
road to the church. While talking, there in the bright light, I 
looked at his garments more closely. He did not wear any band, 
but a little collar, and had on glasses; he was gazing at me from 
beneath them. Suddenly his features, the glasses, the collar, and 
the checked handkerchief reminded me of the father superior of 
our order, who had died six months before. Then I pointed to 
the road he must take, looking in that direction. When I turned 
toward him again I did not see him: he had disappeared! 

We still think of hallucinations ; hallucinations of the eyes, 
the ears — or, rather, of the brain. But the witness assured 
me that she was absolutely cool, in very good health, no»t 
imaginative, and that she had seen clearly. 

"The idea that our dead father superior had stood before 
me struck me with such force," she said, ''that I scarcely- 
had the strength to stand erect. The sisters asked me, when 
I reached them, if I were ill. I am convinced that it was he 
whom I saw." 

"Have you ever had any other hallucination f" 

''Never. Besides, you can see that I 'm a healthy woman, 
with normal mental balance. That I was the dupe of an 
illusion — it 's a most fantastic theory. This presence lasted 
for about three minutes. I was thinking neither of our dead 
father superior nor of anything that might have affected my 
imagination. And at first this priest seemed to me like a 
beggar, and that astonished me. I didn't lose my presence 
of mind for a single instant. I was as calm as I am now. 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 255 

It was only afterward that I realized he didn't want to go 
to a mass, but to have one said for him." 

^'Did you have one said?" 

''The next morning — and more than one. His was a soul 
from purgatory, in need of prayers." 

Such was the nun's story. It seems to me that her position 
would justify us in considering it perfectly sincere. These 
apparitions seem to us more and more clearly defined, as we 
examine a succession of them. Nevertheless the dead man 
was not there, with glasses, with his checked handkerchief 
and his garments. 

The occurrence challenges explanation. Here is another. 

The protective visit of a dead mother to her little boy 
is described in the following story, which has all the ear- 
marks of indubitable authenticity. The mother manifested 
herself six months after her death. The account was fur- 
nished by the Rev. C. Jupp, head of the Alberlour Orphan- 
Asylum in Craigellachie.^ 

In 1875 a man died, leaving a wife and six children. The 
three eldest were taken into the orphan-asylum. Three years after- 
ward the widow died also, and friends raised the money to send 
the other children there. The youngest was four years old. 
Rather late one evening, six months after these children had been 
admitted to the asylum, some visitors arrived suddenly. The su- 
perintendent consented to sleep on a bed placed in the children's 
dormitory: it contained ten beds, nine of which were occupied. 

At breakfast one morning the superintendent told the following 
story: "So far as I can remember, I fell asleep about eleven 
o'clock, and slept soundly for a time. Suddenly I awakened, 
without any apparent reason; I felt an urge to turn toward the 
children. Lifting my eyes, I saw a soft light in the room. The 
gas in the hallway had been turned low, and as the door to the 

1 This account first appeared in June, 1883, in the orphan-asylum's 
annual report, and was published in Hallucinations Hlepathiques, 
p. 360. It is absolutely authentic. 



256 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

dormitory was open, I thought that the light was coming from 
there, but such was not at all the case. I turned, and saw some- 
thing surprising. 

"Above the second bed, against the wall, and on the same side 
of the room on which I was, there was floating a small cloud of 
light, forming a halo as bright as the moon on an ordinary moon- 
light night. 

^'I sat up in bed, to examine the strange apparition. I took 
up my watch, and noted that the hands stood at five minutes to 
one. All was still, and all the children were sleeping soundly. 
In the bed above which the light seemed to float was sleeping 
the youngest of the children previously mentioned. 

"I asked myself, Am I dreaming?' No, I was wide awake. I 
thought I would get up and touch the substance, or whatever it 
was (for, taking it as a whole, it was five feet high), but some- 
thing held me back. I heard nothing, but I felt and understood, 
perfectly, these words: 'Stay in bed; no harm will come to you.' 
It was not long before I went to sleep, and I got up at half- 
past five, as was my habit. 

"About six o'clock I began to dress the children, commencing 
with the bed farthest from mine. I reached the bed over which 
I had seen the light floating. I lifted the little boy up, put him 
on my knee, and drew his clothes on. The child had just been 
talking with the others; suddenly he grew silent. Then, looking 
me full in the face, with an extraordinary expression, he said : 'Oh, 
Mr. Jupp, my mother came to me last night. Did you see herf 
For a moment, I could not answer him. I thought that it was 
better not to speak at all of that, and said: 'Come! Let's hurry, 
or we '11 be late for breakfast.' " 

Never again did the child speak of this vision, we were assured, 
and neither did any one speak of it to him. The superintendent 
of the orphanage acknowledges, simply, that there is a mystery 
in it, to him. He has recorded the occurrence, and there the thing 
stands. He is virtually certain of having given, without a single 
mistake, an account of what he still remembers very exactly. 

In short, we have here two wholly separate experiences: 
that of the head of the institution, and that of the child. 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 257 

How can we doubt the reality of the phenomenon? Does 
it not offer us testimony concerning a mother's love for her 
child, six months after her death? 

The head of the orphan-asylum had told the story to hi^ 
wife, who made this reply on the occasion of the Psychical 
Society's investigation : ''I certify that this account is exact; 
that it was given me on the morning after the incident." 
The story was then told to the bishop, and to other persons. 

I am classifying the occurrence among the "Manifesta- 
tions" rather than among the "Apparitions." But, al- 
though it is a trifle indefinite, it must be recorded and its 
value determined. 

Frank Podmore, too, published it in his book "Apparitions 
and Thought-Transf erence " ; he regarded it as a telepathic 
hallucination. Nevertheless one cannot see, at all, that there 
was any thought-transmission in the manifestation. Thought- 
transmission on whose part ? On the part of the head of the 
orphanage? Nothing would indicate this. Of the sleeping 
child? He may have dreamed of his mother, but the light 
irradiating the room? "There was floating a small cloud of 
light forming a halo as bright as the moon on an ordinary 
moonlight night." No, this is not an explanation; let us 
not try to push classification so far. 

In the course of a lecture made before the London Spiritual 
Alliance, General Dryson told of the following experience: 

It happened many years ago. One morning I received a tele- 
gram announcing the death of an excellent friend of mine, a 
clergjnnan from the North of England. On that same day I made 
a visit to a lady who claimed to possess the faculty of seeing 
spirits and talking with them! Wlien I reached her home I was 
given over to thoughts of my reverend friend. After some mo- 
ments of conversation with the lady, I asked her if she did not 
see a spirit near me who had just left this world. She answered 
that she did see one, who had died very recently. I thought it 



258 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

must be the clergyman. But the lady told me that the apparition 
was in military uniform, and had told her that he had died a 
violent death. She gave me his Christian name and his family 
name, and, besides these, a nickname by which not I alone, but 
also several other of his brothers in arms, had been accustomed 
to call him. I questioned her, wishing for fuller details as to 
his death. She replied that his head had been cut off, and his 
body thrown into a canal; that this had happened in the Orient, 
but not in India. Now, I had not seen this officer for three 
years, and the last news that I had had of him was that he was 
in Hindustan. 

After this visit I went to Woolwich for information. I learned, 
in this way, that the officer in question had really been in India, 
but that he had left for China. Some weeks later the news ar- 
rived that he had been taken prisoner by the Chinese. 

A large sum was offered as a ransom; but he was never found. 

Long years afterward I met, in India, this officer's brother. I 
asked him if anything had ever been learned as to his brother's 
death. He told me that his father had gone to China, and that 
he had, in that country, come upon proof that a Tartar chief, 
furious at the loss of one of his friends, had ordered the officer's 
head cut off, on the banks of a canal into which his body had 
been thrown. 

I agree with Metzger that in this case suggestion must be, 
of necessity, eliminated, as well as thought-transmission. The 
general was not thinking of the officer, and knew nothing 
of what had happened. It is equally plain that the sub- 
conscious had nothing to do with the case. 

Manifestations of the dead are not so rare as people be- 
lieve. My fellow-countryman Count A. de M (he asked 

me not to give his name) told me of a certain number 
of cases which occurred in his family. He guaranteed their 
authenticity. I shall select only the following one, since it 
belongs in this chapter, holding the others in reserve for a 
later book: 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 259 

My cousin Baroness de M was living in Paris, Some months 

after the death of her son Rene she was coming home, after visit- 
ing friends. It was broad daylight. She entered the drawing- 
room, her mind perfectly calm, and saw her son seated in an arm- 
chair before the fireplace. She fled, and never again entered that 
drawing-room. 

Let lis end this, chapter with the following experience, 
a manifestation one year after death. It was published in the 
''Revista de Ciencias Psiquicas" of Caracas, in November, 
1913. ^ 

Dr. Cabral, head of "El Atheneu Brasileiro," relates that he 
had taken care of a poor, deserted girl named Deolinda, who had 
died of consumption. Some time afterward the doctor had ac- 
cepted the hospitality of his friend, Monsieur Barbosa de Andrade, 
who lived in a rather out-of-the-way place. Monsieur Andrade's 
sister had just fallen so seriously ill that it was necessary to look 
after her during the night. 

This is the doctor's story: 

One night, when I had finished my rounds, I was so tired that 
I went to bed. Two sisters, Mesdames Ana and Felicia Diaz, took 
my place at the invalid's bedside. 

I had scarcely stretched myself out on my bed when I was 
pervaded by an intense feeling of well-being. I could not account 
for this sensation. Soon I had an impression that some object was 
touching my head, as though some one were wrapping me up in 
something. Astonished at this feeling, I called to the two ladies 
who were on duty in the next room. Madame Felicia Diaz said 
to me: "I see a young girl, dressed in white, at the head of your 
bed; she's putting a wreath of roses on your forehead. She 
says that her name is Deolinda, and that she has come to 
show her gratitude for the generosity with which you cared for 
her." 

I was greatly astonished by this statement. I recalled the fact 
that it was the anniversary of Deolinda's death; neither I nor any 

^Annates des Sciences psychiques, 1909, p. 166, and 1914, p. 125. 



260 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

one else had tliought of this. I had never spoken to any one in 
that house of what I had done for Deolinda. 

Dr. Cabeal. 

This account is hereby confirmed by the following signatures: 
Manuel Barbosa de Andrade, Madame Emilia Barbosa de Andrade, 
Madame Ana Ines Diaz Fortes. 

How shall we explain this manifestation of a dead woman? 
Was it a waking dream? But, if we accept this hypothesis, 
why the shade, the wreath of roses? Did the deceased 
woman transmit her thoughts ? 

Professor Alexander, the recorder of the occurrence, states 
that, according to the declarations of members of the Barbosa 
family, no one knew of the story concerning Deolinda. He 
adds that Madame Felicia was endowed with very pronounced 
mediumistic faculties. (Proceedings of the Society for Psy- 
chical Research, Volume X, page 385.) 

This case was taken from Professor Sidgwick's "Inquiry as 
to Hallucinations." Myers, Frank Podmore, Mrs. Sidgwick, 
and Miss Alice Johnson were his collaborators. Here are the 
deductions of this committee : 

If one wishes to exclude the possibility of any real intervention 
on Deolinda's part, one must assume: (1) that Dr. Cabral remem- 
bered subconsciously that that day was the anniversary of the young 
girl's death; (2) that the memory gave rise in him, through as- 
sociation, to his feeling of happiness and his tactile sensations, 
without, however, influencing his concious memory; (3) that the 
subconscious recollection was transmitted, telepathically, to the lady 
who saw the deceased. Let us acknowledge that this triple hy- 
pothesis seems forced and artificial beyond all measure, and that 
a small number of similar cases, as precisely substantiated as this, 
lead us to grant the reality of manifestations after death. 

Such are the posthumous manifestations observed during 
the first year after death. They have been selected from a 



ONE MONTH TO ONE YEAR AFTER DEATH 261 

large number of others. Let us also read of those still far- 
ther removed from the date of dissolution. They grow more 
and more infrequent. 



IX 



MANIFESTATIONS AND APPARITIONS DURING THE SECOND 
THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER DEATH 

The great discoveries are born of the 
precise observation of unexpected phe- 
nomena. 

AS we draw farther away from the hour of death, mani- 
festations and apparitions grow rarer. In all the 
preceding chapters I have been obliged to eliminate 
a great many accounts, in order that I might not furtiher 
increase the number of pages, a number already large. 
From this point on we shall not be so swamped. I shall 
bring, in the same order, the principal occurrences to my* 
readers' attention, still without prejudice and with but one 
object: our enlightenment. I shall give the accounts exactly 
as I received or came upon them, without explanatory hy- 
potheses. The hypotheses will come afterward. The mani- 
festations which follow occurred from one to three years 
after death. 

The first, observed one year after dissolution, was ac- 
companied by an analytical statement which substantiated 
it, a statement which would seem to eliminate any possibility 
of hallucination or illusion. The account was sent me from 
Paris, on April 7, 1921. 

My maternal grandfather, a devout and loyal man, adored his 
wife. He was extremely jealous where she was concerned. 

He died in 1895. 

About one year afterward my parents, who had gone to call 
on my grandmother, found her in tears. They asked her the rea- 

262 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 263 

son. "Yesterday evening," she told them, '^I was sitting in my 
arm-chair. Lifting my eyes to the glass door, I saw my poor 
Henri [this was her husband's name]. He gazed at me fixedly, 
then passed on, smoking a cigarette; I could see its glow distinctly. 
Terrified by the vision, I sat motionless. Then, suddenly, he went 
by again, in the opposite direction, and always at the same gait, 
as though he were walking. I rushed after him, calling to him: 
the hallway was empty, though brightly lighted, and the door to 
it was locked." 

In vain my parents tried to persuade her that she had been 
the victim of an hallucination; she would not admit this. "I saw 
him," she said, "as distinctly as I see you." 

It had been my grandfather's habit in the evening to walk up 
and down in the hallway which ran the length of the apartment, 
while his wife was busy with household duties. When he left his 
study he usually wore a work- jacket and a skullcap. It was in 
this costume that he appeared to her. 

On another occasion my grandmother saw her dead husband in 
a dream; he spoke to her roughly, and gripped her arm with 
force. The pain awakened her: she wept, and suffered as be- 
fore. The pain in her arm persisted; in the morning an extremely 
large bruise could be seen upon it, as though something solid really 
had gripped it. 

According to my parents, my grandmother did not have strength 
enough to make such a serious bruise; moreover, there was no trace 
of finger-marks. They would have been there in the normal course 
of things if she herself had pinched her arm while asleep. On the 
other hand, the hypothesis of a blow received accidentally must be 
ruled out. 

I must add that before this experience my grandmother, although 
of a nervous temperament, was in no way inclined to a belief in 
the supernatural, and would never have admitted that occurrences of 
this sort could take place. 

As regards the first case, the phenomenon would seem to have 
been only visual. No one thought of asking her if it had been 
auditory as well (the sound of steps) and olfactory (the odor of 
tobacco). It would appear, however, that in this case my grand- 
mother would not have omitted to mention such a thing. She died 



264 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

in 1918; this is, therefore, a point which cannot be cleared up. 

As to the second ease, the objection may be raised that a nervous 
invalid, during an attack, has a strength incomparably greater than 
this same invalid's strength in a normal state. My grandmother 
never had any nervous disorder. 

However that may be, there was no question, in the first case, of 
a vaporous apparition in the darkness; we are concerned with an 
opaque, material presence, occupying a given space and seen in 
perspective, and in a bright light. 

I cannot end this letter, dear Master, without telling you how 
much we venerate you and your work, in our home, and how many 
times we have found in it interest, courage, and consolation. 

For twenty years my father has been buying your books; they 
have the place of honor in his library. This is enough to show 
you that I have been brought up under your mental guidance, and 
have spent nights reading your books. I wish to express my grati- 
tude. 

What I have said will also serve to give you assurance of the 
authenticity of the occurrences here related. I authorize you to 
make unrestricted use of them. 

Allow me to express, etc. 

Henri Labour. 

(Letter 4426.) 

This letter v^as accompanied by the parents' attestation: 

We certify that the preceding account is exact, and we share our 
son's feelings. 

L. Labour. 

Jeanne Labour (nee Delpeuch). 

There is no need for me to remark, for my readers' ben-efit, 
that if I gave the end of this letter, it v^as simply, as in, 
similar cases, to bring out the fact that these accounts are 
absolutely sincere, and do not warrant our doubting the 
reality of the occurrences. We must concern ourselves 
merely with their interpretation. We must ask ourselves, at 
the outset, if the first vision were not a sort of waking dream. 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 265 

But all that the narrator saw was seen in a bright light, and 
she ran after the phantom. The stigma which followed the 
dream in which she saw her husband and felt the pr'essure 
of his hand would indicate that, in this case, an extremely 
violent pressure was exerted. It would seem admissible to me 
that the deceased was the real cause of the pressure. Not 
that he came back, either the first time, smoking a cigarette 
and with a skullcap on (this would have no meaning) or 
the second time, when he grasped her arm, but that he pro- 
jected his thoughts toward her; thoughts which gave rise to 
images, through psychic energy. This manifestation was less 
sharply defined than those figuring in the photographs of 
phantoms which we shall have occasion to discuss, but it too 
was caused by the deceased communicating, in thought, with 
his wife. 

The hypothesis of an hallucination is easy to put forward, 
but it has not in the least been proved satisfactory. In the 
following case this hypothesis would not seem even admis- 
sible, since the witness was totally unprepared. 

An account of the apparition of a young girl who had been 
dead for a year, was sent me from Sestri Ponente, Italy, in 
a letter dated July 22, 1899, by Monsieur Giuseppe Cavag- 
naro; he took an oath that it was true. This young girl, 
who had died at eighteen, was seen crossing certain rooms, 
not only by the narrator but by other occupants of the house. 
The observer was calm; there are no grounds for the hy- 
pothesis of an hallucination. 

Here is the letter: 

I was eighteen years old and was a student in Genoa, where I 
was living in my father's home. One morning, about seven o'clock, 
while I was turning the pages of a Greek book, I heard a noise like 
that of a door being opened. I looked up and saw a young girl, in 
her chemise, coming out of the kitchen. She was tall, white-skinned, 
and beautiful, with long dark-brown hair which fell in curls down 
her back. She passed me, looking at me and almost smiling, then 



266 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

entered my father's room, opening the door and closing it noisily. 
I was astounded, and said to myself, "I 'd like to find out who she 
is and why she 's here." 

About ten minutes afterward my father came out of this same 
room and, as was his custom, went into the kitchen to wash his 
face and hands. At once I ran into the room which he had just 
left, but found no one there. I looked everywhere : under the cup- 
board, where, as a matter of fact, no one could have hidden because 
the shelves were so low; under the bed, which was very low — not 
even a child could have got beneath it. I also opened the drawers! 
I looked behind the chairs and in all the corners; in a word, I 
sought everywhere. It would have been impossible for the young 
girl to escape by the window, for we were living on the fifth floor, 
in an isolated street, 4 Via Edera. 

When my father came back, after washing his face and hands, 
I told him what had happened. At once we ran to the stairway, 
to search it carefully, and could find nothing. My father was 
obliged to unbolt the street door, which was still locked. The con- 
cierge assured us that no one had either entered or gone out. Then 
we went to a neighbor who lived opposite us, Manzini, a lawyer, 
and told him of the occurrence. To our gTeat surprise, he was 
not at all astonished by our story, recognizing, from my description 
of her, a young girl of eighteen, who had died a year before in my 
father's room, which I had seen her enter. He added that I was 
not the only one who had seen her, and that a whole family, which 
had lived in the house before us, had been obliged to give up that 
apartment because of these apparitions, which had frightened all 
those who had witnessed them. 

I affirm under oath that what I have told you is the exact truth. 

C. Cavagnaro. 

(Letter 767.) 

The investigation made for me on the spot proved to me 
the authenticity of this account. It v^as proved as indubita- 
bly as the fact that Madame Brentano threw herself from 
a v^indov^ in a Milan Street, as Prince Troubetzkoy related 
to me (''At the Moment of Death," page 236). 

I confess that, after making every allowance, I am more 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 267 

and more astonished by the denials of those who contradict 
everything. 

Has the testimony of persons belonging to the lower classes 
of society the same value as that of cultivated persons ? This 
is the question which the narrator of the following observa- 
tion put to me. The story was told her by her charwoman. 

One midsummer day, about three or four o'clock in the after- 
noon, this woman was sewing. She states that she saw her father, 
who had been dead for about a year, pass before her. He went 
into an adjoining room, where the store of wood for the winter 
was kept. She ran after him. Although she knew he was dead, 
she was so sure of having seen him that she looked into the little 
room into which he had gone, but saw no one there. She was not 
thinking of her father at the moment of this apparition, and af- 
firmed positively that she had seen him as distinctly as one sees a 
person of flesh and blood, when that person stands before one. She 
even remembers that he carried a cane in his hand, and had on a 
brown suit. 

Berthe Liebmann, 

(Letter 308.) Paris. 

When we see dead persons in our dreams and talk with 
them, this mental illusion proves nothing. The most incon- 
gruous and absurd situations arise in the course of dreams. 
But our normal waking state is different. Why should not 
this observation on the part of a charwoman be as valuable 
as that of a savant, of a scholar, of an artist, if this person 
has a calm disposition and good sense that is proof against 
illusions? Moreover, why are observations of this sort so 
numerous ? 

The foregoing narrations would lead us to think that dead 
persons return to their former abodes. They may think of 
these abodes without really coming back. We may, on the 
other hand, see in such cases only mental images or hallucina- 
tions, but we must beware of solutions that are too easy. 



268 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Thus we might see in the following impression an optical and 
auditory illusion. But the percipient was a child five or six 
years old, who did not, probably, at the time of this experi- 
ence, have much imagination. On the other hand, we know 
of rather a large number of similar manifestations on the 
part of dead persons who continued their former habits. 
An account of the following phenomenon was sent me by Ma- 
demoiselle Eve Cabot, from Montpellier, on April 27, 1920. 
It bears the number 4134, on my records of psychic occur- 
rences. 

When I was five or six years old, I was living in the country, 
with my grandmother. We slept in the same bed. One morning, 
when I waked up, I saw my grandfather, who had been dead for a 
year. He was sighing as he walked from one window to another. 
I was not in the least frightened. In this same way my grand- 
father came back several times. My grandmother used to say to 
me, again and again, that what I had told her was meaningless, but 
I heard my mother tell her that my visions corresponded to my 
grandfather's former habits. He had almost ruined himself by 
building the house in which we were living, and he used often to go 
from one window to another, sighing. 

As we said a short time ago, a large number of happen- 
ings of this sort would lead us to think that the dead con- 
tinue the habits peculiar to them when they were alive. 
Is this strange and inexplicable circumstance enough to 
make us reject these happenings? Would it not be better 
to try to explain them? 

We shall read now of a posthumous anniversary. I received 
the following letter from Port-Louis, He Maurice, on May 4, 
1899: 

When I was twenty I celebrated my birthday with my brother- 
in-law, who was passing through this city; his age was exactly 
double mine. It was on December 13, 1874. Ever since that time 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 269 

we have continued to celebrate our birthday together. My brother- 
in-law died in October, 1897, about two months before his sixty- 
third birthday. I did not celebrate that birthday alone, for I was 
very sad. At the close of 1898, I did not think of our birthday. 
This is all the stranger from the fact that I cannot remember for- 
getting this date on any other occasion in my life. In the course 
of the night of December 12th-13th — I do not know at what hour 
— I saw my brother-in-law distinctly, while asleep. His features 
were clearly defined. I did not see him as though in a dream, but 
as though it were broad daylight. He seemed a little older, as he 
might well have, after one or two years. When I awakened in the 
morning, this experience seemed very odd to me. It was only in 
the course of the day that I thought of the date and remembered 
that it was my forty-fourth anniversary. I must add that there 
was a very close intimacy between us. 

I had never had any vision such as that since my brother-in-law's 
death. 

Regis de Chazal, 
Manufacturing Engineer. 

(Letter 654.) 

We are free to seek every possible explanation. Could the 
narrator's subconscious mind have perceived what his con- 
scious mind did not? But have we a right to deny the in- 
fluence of the deceased brother-in-law ? It was a year and 
a half after his death. If we wished to interpret the dream 
in a literal spirit, we should conclude that the dead man's 
soul was not free to manifest itself two months after death, 
but was able to do so fourteen months afterward. 

We read in Volume II (page 122) of a mother who mani- 
fested herself one year after her death, and asked her daughter 
to go, despite her fatigue, to the religious ceremonies at the 
anniversary of her death. Was this not a mere reflection of 
the daughter's thought? She had been particularly busy in 
preparing for the ceremony. Let us never lose sight of the 
fact that we are far from knowing the whole extent of human 
faculties. It was on account of consideration such as this that 



270 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

the occurrence just mentioned was given in Volume II, and 
not here. 

The following is an account of a ghost, distinctly seen and 
closely scrutinized by the observer. The witness himself 
wrote out the story of it.^ 

In 1880 I succeeded my predecessor as librarian. I had never 
seen him, nor any photograph or portrait of him. People may have 
spoken to me about him and about his appearance, but that was all. 
One evening in March, 1884, I had remained in the library until 
rather late, and was working, alone. Suddenly I realized that I 
should miss my train if I did not hurry. It was then fifty-live 
minutes past ten, and the last train left at five minutes past eleven. 
I rose hastily, took up some books in one hand and the lamp in the 
other, then went out through a hallway. As my lamp lighted up 
this hallway I perceived a man at the other end, and it occurred 
to me at once that a burglar had broken in — a thing that was not 
impossible. Instantly I went back to the room I had just left, put 
down the books, took up a revolver, held my lamp behind me and 
again went along the hallway to a corner where it seemed to me 
that the burglar might have hidden himself, in order to make his 
way, from that point, into the main room. But I could find no 
one, and saw only the room, lined with shelves of books. Several 
times I shouted to the intruder to show himself, hoping that my call 
would be heard by a policeman. Then I saw him again. I noted 
that he seemed to be examining the shelves of books. His head was 
bald, colorless; his eye-sockets were very sunken. I went toward 
him. He was an old man with high shoulders. He swayed from 
side to side as he gazed at the books; he continued to look at them, 
turning his back to me. With a dragging step he left the shelves 
and made his way silently toward the door of a little lavatory 
opening on the room in which the books were, a lavatory which had 
no other door. I followed the man into it, and, to my great sur- 
prise, found no one. I examined the window (it measured about 
fourteen by eighteen inches), and found it securely locked. I 
opened it and looked out. Outside was a pit ten feet deep; no one 
could have got out of it unaided. He could not have escaped. 

1 Frank Podmore, Appa/ritions an^ Th?ought-Transference, p. 427. 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 271 

Deeply mystified, I admit that I began to have, for the first time, 
what might be called "a feeling of supernatural fear." I left the 
library and found that I had missed my train. 

The next morning I told my story to a clergyman of that region, 
who, when he heard my description, replied, "Why, that's the old 
librarian!" Soon afterward I was shown a portrait of my prede- 
cessor; the resemblance was very striking. The deceased had lost 
all his hair, his eyebrows, and his eyelashes; he had, if I remember 
rightly, been the victim of an explosion. He had high shoulders, 
and walked with a waddling gait. 

Later inquiry proved he had died at about the time of year at 
which I saw the figure. 

After telling this story, Mr. Podmore admits quite frankly 
that to account for it by the hypothesis of thought-transmis- 
sion ''has seemed to some extravagant." But, all the same, 
he will not abandon this theory. In the course of the dis- 
cussion he cites Gurney's reflections in the second volume 
of ''Phantasms of the Living" (Volume II, pages 267-269), 
"where the telepathic bond between the agent and the percip- 
ient would seem to be of a local, rather than a personal 
character." We can guess, after a fashion, what the author 
is driving at, but his meaning is not dazzlingly clear. Pod- 
more adds: 

In the ease of the most usual apparitions— for example, that of 
a dying mother to her son — the manifestations are not of the same 
sort as in the case of casual acquaintances, since people who have 
lived together a part of their lives have sentiments in common. 

In the case given here, the bond of union which led to such 
common sentiments may be found in the fact that the witness had 
the same occupation as the deceased. 

This interpretation would lead us to conclude that the witness saw 
the librarian's form in his habitual environment because a friend of 
the deoeased, may at this precise moment have remembered the 
former librarian and mentally recalled his image. 



272 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

All of us feel that this '' explanation" is no explanation at 
all. Thought-transmission is no universal panacea. To go so 
far as to suppose that some unknown person thought, at that 
very moment, of the former librarian, and that the thought 
produced the vision seen by his successor, who followed the 
shade which was walking in the library, and which disap- 
peared into the lavatory — this supposition forces us to put 
forward a hypothesis so audacious in its temerity that it 
would seem further removed from truth than the admission 
that the phantom actually existed. If it did actually exist, 
as an image projected by the dead man's thought, it was 
distinct and substantial enough in appearance to have been 
taken for a burglar and followed by the observer, armed 
with a revolver. 

To see in these phenomena only hallucinations is really 
not possible; this would mean finding madmen and mentally 
unbalanced persons everywhere. The observer did not know 
the former librarian, and the apparition corresponded to the 
portrait which he saw afterward and the description given 
him later. The librarian was bald, with high shoulders, and 
he walked with a waddling gait. It was really he whom his 
successor met, scrutinized, and followed; the witness had no 
nervous disorder, moreover. What was the phantom doing 
there ? Was it a harking back to his life, his habits ? These 
ghosts are, most assuredly, bizarre. There are numerous 
analogous cases. Though we have no preconceived ideas, we 
are forced to admit their authenticity. What had this old 
librarian come to look for? Why was the Sentenac priest 
seen walking up and down and telling his beads? How do 
impalpable beings grow visible? All these occurrences have 
been denied, disdained, and accounts of them suppressed; 
plainly, this was the simplest course. But would it not be 
better to learn from them? 

The exact date of dissolution was not given, but it would 
seem that the apparition was observed one year after death. 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 273 

Whether the phenomenon was subjective or objective, it 
had a cause. After all, there may be nothing unpleasant 
in meeting a ghost; the thing may resolve itself into a 
problem in optics demanding an explanation. We shall 
read later of the ghost of Maupertuis in a room of the Berlin 
Academy. 

The apparition of which I am about to give an account — 
that of a horseman, a year after his death — was actually 
seen by a man known and esteemed for his physical and 
moral qualities. General R. Barter, of the British Army. The 
account is particularly fantastic and unbelievable, and never- 
the less it cannot be doubted ! Here is the picture ^ : 

The general was campaigning in the Punjab. One night, when 
the moon was full (there was that splendid tropical moonlight), he 
was alone, some distance from his camp. He was calmly smoking 
a cigar, when, on his left, he heard the sound of a trotting horse. 
About a hundred meters away, above the sunken road, he first saw 
a moving hat appear — evidently the horseman's hat, he thought. 
Soon afterward a group emerged full into the open; there was a 
European in civilian dress, on a horse, accompanied by two native 
servants. The group approached at a good rate of speed. General 
Barter cried, "Who goes there?" There was no answer. The rider 
still came on, with his followers. He was not more than four 
paces away when, upon a last commanding challenge, he stopped 
short and turned his face toward Barter. At once the general recog- 
nized in him a lieutenant whom he knew to have been dead for a 
year. With a quick glance he took in the whole picture. The lieu- 
tenant was in full dress — a high hat, a white vest, et cetera — but, 
though he had been clean-shaven, the general saw that he now had 
whiskers under his chin. Besides this, he noted that he was much 
more corpulent than when he had known him. The lieutenant's 
mount also drew his attention; it was a vigorous mountain pony, 
brown, with a black tail and mane. General Barter restrained him- 
self no longer; he wished to banish all doubt as to this adventure, 
and he threw himself toward the fantastic'horseman, across an inter- 

^ Annales des Sciences psychiques, November, 1891. 



274 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

vening slope. But the earth gave way beneath his feet, he fell 
forward on his hands, and rose instantly. All had vanished! The 
subsequent inquiry brought out the fact that the lieutenant had let 
his whiskers grow a short time before his death, and that he had 
become much stouter in his latter days. General Barter learned, at 
the same time, that he had owned a horse, bred in the Punjab. 
This horse corresponded, point by point, to his description of the 
horse of his vision. This horse was also dead, having been killed 
through the imprudence of his master, who was known as a break- 
neck rider. General Barter, who had lost sight of the lieutenant 
for some years, was completely ignorant of all these details. His 
memory, therefore, could not have aided his imagination to create 
the apparition, with all its special characteristics. Nor could the 
apparition have taken form in the mind of any telepathist, and have 
been reconstructed in every detail, without any error or omission. 

In citing this case of the apparition of an officer who had 
been dead for a year, and of his horse, Durand de Gros admits 
that the initial thought v^ould seem to have resided in the 
phantom himself, "as in the case of the apparitions of those 
in a trance; as in Alfonso of Liguori's visit to the pope" 
C'Le Merveilleux scientifique, " page 68). But his theory 
seems to me extremely vague. 

It is, certainly, most difficult to explain such a phenomenon. 
We may think that there was no real phantom there, either 
of man or horse. But may we not admit the visioning of 
a real scene which actually occurred? Through double vi- 
sion, through clairvoyance, people sometimes perceive a fu- 
ture scene. "Why should they not witness a scene in the 
past ? Time has no real existence. And could not this image 
have been caused by the deceased himself, thinking of his 
friend? 

Into what world have we set sail, dear readers? But let 
us not be disturbed. Let us calmly continue to give oc- 
currences carefully observed. Let us not imitate the writ- 
ers who suppose that all must be explained by the natural 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 275 

sciences in their present state of development and who are 
inexcusably fatuous enough to throw doubt and suspicion on 
the best efforts of those who seek in good faith. 

If we must be convinced of any one thing, it is that we 
know nothing. 

The preceding occurrences took place during the first and 
second years after death. We shall ndw read of those 
which happened after the second year. 

I take occasion to state here that since 1899 I have been 
keeping the following note separate from the letters I was 
receiving : 

In the course of the night of January 1 and 2, 1898, I 
saw my mother in a dream; she had been dead for two years and a 
half. She came toward my bed gravely, kissed me on the fore- 
head, and went out without saying anything to me. The next day 
I received a letter telling me of the sudden death of my sister at ten 
o'clock on the evening of January 1st. Since I did not awaken, 
it was impossible for me to know if there was an exact coincidence 
between the time of the dream and that of my sister's death. 

M. Razous, 
Instructor in Trelons, Haute-Garonne. 

(Letter 360.) 

The correspondence between the mother's manifestation, 
in a dream, and the unforeseen death of her daughter, is 
indubitable. The theory of chance really will not suffice; 
we need an explanation. Our interpretation is that the 
mother thought of her son in this supreme hour, and that 
there was telepathic communication between her and 
him. 

This account was taken from ^'L'lnconnu.'' When I was 
preparing that work for the press, I received the following 
communication. I did not publish it at the time, my inten- 
tion being to give accounts relative to the dying before con- 
sidering the dead. 



276 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

I can guarantee the absolute authenticity of the following oc- 
currence. My mother had this experience some years ago: 

An aunt, of whom she was very fond, had died two years pre- 
viously, leaving a son with whom my mother, for special reasons, 
had practically broken off all relations. One night she was awak- 
ened by a very clear perception of this aunt's presence; she had 
seen her open the door of the room, draw near her bed, and stand, 
erect and motionless, at her bedside. 

The phenomenon was repeated again after two days. This time 
my mother was most agitated; she told my father about it, and 
asked him to find out if any misfortune had happened to her 
cousin; she had no doubt that the apparition's intention had been 
to commend him particularly to her. 

The presentiment was a true one, for on the following day my 
parents were informed that a member of the family, who was 
dying, had asked to see them. The cousin — since it was he — 
wished for a reconciliation with my mother; she regarded it as a 
double duty to take care of him until the last. He lived on for 
some days. 

Even to-day, although several years have gone by since this 
happened, my mother never speaks of it without emotion, and is 
convinced that her aunt came to tell her of her son's illness. 

For family reasons this note must remain anonymous. 

(Letter 48.) A.J. 

How can we deny the reality of this apparition? — its ob- 
ject and its result ? 

A mother's vdice was heard two years after her death. I 
received the following letter from Siorac de Belvis, Dordogne, 
on May 14, 1899 : 

I think it my duty to bring to your knowledge a happening in 
the commune of Bosset, in the canton of Laforce. 

A lady named X died in 1895, leaving a little daughter, 

four months old, who was taken care of by her uncle, a worthy 
farmer. Two years afterward the latter was gathering in the har- 
vest, with his daughter and his wife. The child, then about three 
years old, had followed them into the field. This field was so situ- 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 277 



ated that no one could approach the harvesters without being per- 
ceived. 

Suddenly these h'arvesters heard the word "Good-day" spoken 
near them, slowly, in a sad tone. The three of them, who had 
known the deceased woman well, recognized her voice immediately. 
The little girl, who could not remember it, having been orphaned 
at too early an age, .asked her aunt, whom she called mother: 
"Mamma, who 's saying good-day to us ? There ^s no one here." 

They did not answer her, but began to weep, believing, according 
to the superstition of their region, that the dead woman was de- 
manding her daughter, and that the latter would die very soon. 

All these persons are trustworthy, and almost completely illiterate. 
They n'ever spoke of this incident without tears in their eyes. 

If you wish more exact information as to these people (I know 
them slig^htly, and all of them are still living), and as to the day 
and hour of the hallucination, I shall take advantage of the 
Easter holidays and shall go and question them myself. 

Rebeyrol. 

(Letter 117.) 

The investigation confirmed the authenticity of the curious 
account. It shov^ed me, once again, that it is unreasonable 
to deny everything. We are concerned in this case with an 
auditory perception: there were three adult hearers and a 
child. 

The following occurrence to^ok place during that same 
period (1S99) : 

Something quite strange happened to my mother and me. 

We hved in Seine-et-Marne for a long time. Through a change 
in the government my father was called to Chalon-sur-Saone. One 
evening, when my mother and I were going to the post-office and 
were passing under a gas-light, at a corner we saw a lady some 
paces in front of us, coming from the opposite direction. Both of 
us cried, "Madame Seigneur!" (She was an old lady we had 
known, who had lived near us formerly, and had been dead for 
about two years.) After a mom'ent's thought we added, "That is 



278 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

she!" We turned to follow her — . Nothing! We have never been 
able to explain this apparition. My mother and I often speak of 
it. We are sure of having seen her; we can describe what she was 
wearing, to the smallest detail. If it had been I alone, I should 
distrust my nervous and impressionable temperament, but my 
mother is very calm. We used to care a great deal for that old 
friend, and often used to speak of her. Did she wish to show us 
that she had not forgotten us? 

Here is another manifestation. In the religious school where I 
finished my education, my schoolmistress grew dangerously ill. A 
young girl about twenty years old came from Paris to take her 
place. She lived in one of the little rooms called cJiamhrettes, with 
an assistant mistress, a young girl preparing to take her diploma, 
and a woman in charge of the linen. Every morning all these went 
to mass at half -past six, with the exception of Mademoiselle 
Adrienne. One morning, when all the sisters were leaving the 
chapel, Mademoiselle Adrienne was seen in the kitchen. She said 
that she did not wish to live in her room any longer, that a sister 
had frightened her. They proved to her that all the sisters — that 
every one except herself was at mass. "I know that," she said. 
"It was a sister whom we don't know. She's tall, slender, and 
very pale. She came up to my bed, and looked at me. I spoke to 
her and she did not answer, but I shall never forget her gaze. She 
walked all around the room, slowly, then went away." 

There was no sister who corresponded to Mademoiselle Adrienne's 
description, and they spent the whole day discussing this phenom- 
enon. Then one of the nuns thought of showing her a photograph 
of Sister Bouchez, whb had died two months before Mademoiselle 
Adrienne entered the school. She recognized her at once. Sister 
Bouchez had been accustomed to working in these small rooms, 
where she gathered together all sorts of things for the sick, 

L. Delvert. 

(Letter 223.) 

I repeat for the hundredth time that we cannot always see 
in these cases mere hallucinations! — that this explanation 
of Occurrences so num^erous and varied is absolutely unsatis- 
factory. 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 279 

The following incident would lead us to admit that a dead 
person may manifest himself, in exceptional circumstances, 
three years after he has passed away. The communication 
which I am about to give was sent me from Intra, Italy, on 
August 31, 1899, by the learned Dr. Perossi. 

The Italian newspapers, my dear Master, give us assurance that 
you are still patiently questioning the Unknown, and that it will 
please you to be kept informed as to manifestations touching on 
the problems which you study, as well as the sky. I seize this op- 
portunity to tell you of a personal, technical observation. 

A young girl, Marie Bottini, aged thirteen (she is a peasant from 
Boregio), fell over a precipice and struck her head against a stone 
which made a wound on her right temple. It fractured her skull 
and a piece of bone was driven into it. It was 6 x 7 — that is to 
say, 42 centimeters square. The fragment of bone, completely de- 
tached from the skull, buried itself in the gray matter of the 
brain, where it still is. A great deal of the gray matter issued 
from her head; in order to sew up the flesh wound I had to take 
out about fifty grams of it. The little girl was brought to me 
thirty-six hours after the accident; I found her able to give clear 
answers to all my questions, and up to the present time she has 
not been afflicted with any nervous disorder, either of her intel- 
lectual faculties, her muscular control or her sensibility. 

In spite of the effects of the wound on her system, she suffered 
no mental disturbance, and was able to give, and can still give, 
minute explanations of what happened to her. Having fallen into 
a ravine hollowed out by water, she took refuge in it and remained 
there until the following day. When she was asked if she had not 
been afraid during the night, she answered that she had not, and 
stated that toward the close of the day her father had appeared to 
her and had given her courage, telling her to wait patiently for her 
relatives, who would surely come to look for her the next day and 
would take very good care of her. Her father had been dead for 
three years. I told her that a person who had been dead for so 
long could not come back, but she stated with conviction that her 
father had come, and had protected her during the whole night. 
This child still sticks to what she said. 



280 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

There, my dear Professor, is the authentic account of the occur- 
rence. It is for you to study. Was it an illusion or reality? We 
physicians see in it an hallucination. 

Allow me, dear Professor, etc. 

Dr. Perossi. 

(Letter 771.) 

May we, logically, deny all these occurrences? Then, how 
could all these numerous and consistent apparitions of the 
dead — fathers, mothers, children, relatives — manifest them- 
selves, if there is no truth at the bottom of it all? Could 
these be varied, mutually unconnected hallucinations, in 
agreement one with the other? Each of my readers must 
honestly and sincerely ask himself this same question. 

We shall now read of the mysterious voice of a dead 
father, who saved the life of his son and the lives of a ship's 
crew. The "Filosofia della Scienza" of Palermo published 
the following letter, sent from Civita Vecchia on February 
27, 1911, to the editor of this review : 

All my ancestors were seamen. My father came into his own 
when he took command of the brig Notre-Dame de Graces in Mar- 
seilles. This was in 1837. He left Marseilles for Brindisi with a 
cargo of grain. Navigation was at that time much more difficult 
than it is to-day, because of pirates on the one hand, and, on the 
other, because the coasts had no lighthouses. There were only a 
few lanterns here and there. 

When they neared Brindisi it was black night, and a tempest was 
raging. The brig was sailing to windward. My father was at the 
stern of the vessel, trying to discover some vague light which would 
dhow him where the port was. The wind was blowing tempes- 
tuously; the waves, with a noise like hell, shook the vessel at in- 
tervals, covered it with foam, and pounded its sides. Peals of 
thunder followed the flashes of lightning. The fury of the tem- 
pest increased steadily; it was a critical moment. 

Suddenly a loud voice cried: "Captain, Captain, come here! 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 281 

Come here at once!" Not knowing what had happened, my father 
rushed to the poop, whence the calls were coming. 

"What is it?" he asked the helmsman. The latter, dazed and 
trembling, stammered: 

"Don't you hear it? Didn't you hear the voice that's been re- 
peating, ^Puggia! puggiaF^ for the last few minutes'?" 

"The voiee? What voice? The rain's making you hear imag- 
inary voices, or it 's the whistling of the wind that 's fooling you. 
I don't hear anything." 

But he had not finished speaking when a voice from the steering- 
apparatus (at least that is where it seemed to come from) repeated 
in a commanding tone: ''Puggia! puggia! puggiaF' 

Astounded, hardly believing his ears, my father approached the 
spot from which this cry had seemed to come. He went all around 
it; he examined all the nooks of the poop, but since he discovered 
nothing and thought that he, too, must be the victim of a sensory 
hallucination, he said to the helmsman : "But there 's no one there. 
All the crew are at the bow." Then the voice, clearer and more 
vibrant, repeated the command. This time my father not only 
heard it distinctly, but recognized in it the quality, the cadence, and 
the very tones of his father's voice — a voice that was most familiar 
to him, since he had made trips with his father from the age of 
nine. 

Fascinated, moved, in his turn, by an irresistible and incompre- 
hensible force, he shouted out the order to haul taut. Taking the 
tiller from the helmsman's hands, he himself exerted the necessary 
strength. The crew then loDsened the sheets and the yards on the 
leeward side. 

The brig, catching the wind, swung over to the right, and part- 
ing the raging waves, pushed forward swiftly, like a runaway horse 
when the reins are released. Almost at the same time a flash of 
lightning irradiated the quarter from which the wind was coming — 
that is to say the larboard side — which was precisely the direction 
in which the vessel was previously moving. By the light of this 

1 This word (it is Neapolitan dialect) may be translated, "Haul 
taut!" — which here means to steer the ship in the direction opposite 
to that from which the wind was blowing. 



282 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

fleeting gleam the frightened eyes of the crew beheld the foamy 
whiteness of raging waves beating the rocks of the coast. 

If the vessel had continued her original course for a few more 
minutes all would have been over for both ship and crew.^ 

F. SCOTTI, 

Ship's captain. 

To suppose that this was an hallucination seems to me 
pure madness. 

People may alv^ays say that the story was merely made 
up, that Captain Scotti lied. All the preceding narrations 
might be met with this same special answer. Some people 
are deaf, blind, idiotic. Let us continue, in all freedom, to 
seek self -enlightenment. 

The remarkable, symbolic manifestation which we shall 
now read of took place three years and eight months after 
death. 

In general we can eliminate only with great difficulty the 
possibility of influence exerted by living persons' minds. 
Our efforts to attain to truth lead to no precise results com- 
parable to those achieved in the solution of algebraic equa- 
tions. With these equations we proceed by elimination, until 
we are left with an absolutely definitive quantity. In the 
following case, as in so many others, we can really see no 
other course but to admit the personal influence of the de- 
ceased. I thank the observer for having been kind enough 
to allow me to set forth, for the benefit of all those anxious 
to solve the greatest of problems, the graphic account which 
follows. I owe my knowledge of it to her. 

Her letter was sent me from Paris. It was dated Febru- 
ary 7, 1921. 

In order that you may have one more document for use in the 
important investigation which you are making, allow me to tell you 

'^ Annales des Sciences psychiques, l&ll, p. 126. 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 283 

of the two following experiences. I was concerned in them per- 
sonally. 

On September 2, 1916, between ten and eleven o'clock in the 
morning, I was dressing in my room when, suddenly, I was seized 
by a terrible, stifling anguish. What I felt was so painful that I 
rushed, scarcely dressed at all, into my daughter's room, making 
my way along the walls so that I might not fall. I cried out to 
her, "I don't know what -s the matter : I 'm suffering, I 'm 
stifling!" Then, when my daughter's kind words had calmed me a 
little, I said : "Good Heavens ! A great misfortune 's happened to 
Rene!" 

Two days afterward, on September 4, Major Duseigneur, com- 
mander of Squadron 57, informed me that my beloved son, a pilot 
in the aviation service, had disappeared behind the German lines, 
after an aerial battle above Verdun, on the very day and at the 
very, time when I had been so agitated. 

Only after the armistice did the Germans inform us that my son 
had been brought down within their lines on September 2d, at 
Dieppe, near Verdun, and that he had been buried in the Dieppe 
soldiers' graveyard, in grave 56. We made four trips and searched 
innumerable times in this cemetery, without finding anything. The 
graveyard had been torn up by bombs, and most of the crosses were 
broken. Since we could not find our dear child's remains, we ad- 
dressed ourselves to the officer in <• command of that sector, whose 
duty it was to see to the exhumation of the bodies, that he might 
let us know the day on which the corpses in this graveyard were to 
be exhumed. Several persons in high positions had conununicated 
with him on our behalf, and my husband wrote to him continually 
in order that he might not forget us. This took place last spring. 

At half-past eight on May 25th I was pervaded by a feeling 
of great sadness; I was even sadder than usual, without reason. 
That I might shake off this deep depression, I went to the window, 
and my gaze wandered to the rue Ribera, which runs up a slope 
directly opposite. There are trees there, and a little blue sky. 
Suddenly, in a group of trees, I saw my sdn Rene appear! His 
handsome face was pale and sad; he seemed to be depicted on a 
great circular medallion. At his sides were two young men, one on 
his right, the other on his left. I did not know them, and had 



284 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

never seen them. Terrified by tliis vision, I left the window, put 
my hands to my head, and asked myself if I were going mad. I 
walked up and down the room several times, then went back to 
the window; the vision was still there. There could be no doubt 
that it was Rene. His head was tilted to the left, as usual. "But 
who can these young men hef I asked myself. "The one on 
the right seems to be a Russian, and the one on the left, a German. 
But that means that my son isn't dead: he must be a prisoner 
somewhere." Still overwhelmed by terror, I left the window once 
more and ran to tell my husband. But when I reached the door 
of his room I got myself in hand and said to myself: "No, I 
must n't speak to him ; he 'd think me mad ; it would be too pain- 
ful for him. What shall I do*?" I went back to (the window: the 
vision was still there. This time I sat down on the window-sill, 
determined to stay there to the end, near him. What happened? 
I came to myself. Had I been asleep ? Or had I lost consciousness ? 
I no longer saw my son. I rose painfully, left the window, looked 
to see what time it was. It was half-past ten o'clock. All this 
had lasted for two hours. I went to bed, much agitated, shaken 
by emotion, but could not sleep and dared not say anything to my 
husband. What could the vision mean? I never ceased asking 
myself this question. 

Some days afterward I told three of my women friends all that 
had happened to me; they can vouch for this, if you like. 

Three months went by. Then, at the close of August, the officer 
in command of the sector, in reply to a further demand on my 
husband's part, more pressing than the others, informed us that 
the bodies in the cemetery in Dieppe had been exhumed, and that 
our child had not been found there. We were deeply grieved. How 
could we ever know, now, what had become of our poor son? I, 
for my part, felt hopeless. After some days of extreme depression 
I took courage again, and wished to return to the Dieppe cemetery. 

It was a fixed idea on my part. My husband opposed it, telling 
me, very reasonably, that since we had found nothing when there 
were bodies there, we could not, now, hope to find anything what- 
soever. Nothing could convince me. Since my decision was final, 
my husband was good enough to accompany me, and we left in the 
course of the first days of September. 



SECOND, THIED, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 285 

We went directly to the Eix sector. I asked on what date the 
bodies in this cemetery had been exhumed. The officer consulted 
the records and told us, "It took five days (there were one hundred 
and ten bodies), from the twentieth to the twenty-fifth of May J' 
This last date was precisely that of my vision! I looked at my 
husband, for, most fortunately, I had decided to tell him everything. 
This coincidence in dates disturbed both of us. We set out. The 
cemetery was five kilometers away. 

As we were going there, I reflected that my husband was right: 
what were we to look for, since there was nothing left? 

When we reached our destination, I ordered the men to dig in a 
great shell-hole; I thought that, most certainly, no one could have 
looked in it. In this hole they found a pair of aviator's goggles. 
I took courage once more: without any doubt, an aviator had been 
buried there. They made a further search. Nothing — absolutely 
nothing. At last a little soldier who was most intelligent took 
charge of things. Und^r his guidance we reached an empty ditch 
where we found a large pieee of fur — which I recognized — gloves, 
some pieces of a pair of violet silk suspenders. There was no 
longer the shadow of a doubt: my son had lain there. "Where 
did you put him"?" — "In the German cemetery. We wrote the word 
'Unknown' above him, and put up a black cross." The cross of 
those accursed men! My grief and indignation may well be imag- 
ined! I wanted to hurry to the other graveyard; I did not wish 
my son to remain there. But the officer refused my request. He 
could not undertake to have bodies in coffins unearthed. Besides, 
how could we find the particular coffin which we were looking for? 
There were more than two thousand graves in this German cemetery. 
But my mind was made up. We went back to Verdun, eighteen 
kilometers away. We found the officer in charge of the grave- 
yards. After a long discussion, and influenced by our determined, 
threatening attitude, he yielded, and authorized us to have a search 
made. 

The next day, at five o'clock in the morning, we were in the 
cemetery, with nine men and several soldiers. By noon they had 
opened twenty coffins without any result. The men went to lunch. 
My husband and I remained there, deeply distressed, for we were 
beginning to lose hope. We were in despair at the idea of leaving 



286 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

our child among his accursed enemies, when, suddenly, I thought 
of my vision. As though a gleam of light had irradiated my mind, 
"Why, yes!" I said; "we'll find him; he's between a Russian and 
a German. There was a Russian in the Dieppe cemetery ; let 's look 
for him." The men came back and took up the work once more. 
As for us, we looked for the Russian. We had to interrupt our 
search again and again, to inspect each newly opened coffin; this 
delayed us greatly. At last, at four o'clock, I found the Russian. 
On his left was an unknown man; on the latter's left was a Ger- 
man. I felt, I was sure that — ^beyond a doubt — the unknown man 
was my son. They dug up the coffin; it was he! His poor skele- 
ton was enveloped in his fur coat. More bits of suspenders. But, 
above all, I recognized his teeth. They had opened forty-two 
coffins. One hundred and ten of them had come from the Dieppe 
cemetery, and in all there were more than two thousand, that had 
been sent from various regions! Except for my vision we should 
have had to give up our search. 

Wasn't this marvelous? My poor child did not wish me to 
leave him in this graveyard; he did not wish me to have this added, 
cruel suffering. He came to my assistance; he gave me the will 
power to push on to the end, to overcome all difficulties, all ob- 
stacles. Now that I am calm, I feel that he lives, that he sees me. 
dinary thing about my vision; it must have been their very fea- 
But I find the portraits of the two young men the most extraor- 
tures. Oh, how happy I should be if you would tell me how this 
could happen. I think of my vision constantly, and each time that 
I do I am most disturbed. 

My husband and my women friends will certainly vouch for the 
scrupulous exactitude of this account. It is, doubtless, too long, 
but I thought that every detail would have its own importance in 
your eyes. 

A. Clarinval. 

(Letter 4378.) 

It v^ill be readily understood that, after reading this 
story that is so touching, so sincere, so remarkable, I wished 
to render it complete through the investigation which I 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 287 

usually make when the subjects of inquiry warrant my doing 
so. Accepting the kind invitation of the narrator herself, 
I asked her husband, Monsieur Clarinval, a retired officer 
of high rank, to be good enough to write me directly, and 
to give his own personal recollections. His reply was a de- 
tailed account; it set forth, in different terms, the incidents 
just related; it seems to me superfluous to give it here. It 
ends as follows: 

This discovery was absojutely providential. I hereby state that 
without my wife's vision it would have been altogether impossible 
to find our poor child again. He is now lying in the Montparnasse 
Cemetery, where we had him taken on November 22, 1920. 

The bodies in the Dieppe cemetery were exhumed during the 
period from May 20th to May 25th, 1920. Now, it was precisely on 
May 25th that my wife had the vision. After the circumstances 
were verified, it appeared that it was precisely on this date — May 
25th — that our son's remains were transferred from the Dieppe 
cemetery to the German cemetery. 

I can therefore vouch for the veracity of this account. I must 
add that my wife has a clear, well-balanced mind. Her judgment is 
always so sound that I admit I was impressed by her account of the 
apparition, which lasted two whole hours. The occurrence was all 
the more important because of the fact that she is not subject to 
hallucinations, and in all her life — that is to say for sixty- three 
years — she never had any other vision. 

Clarinval, 
Retired Major. 

This statement by Major Clarinval was, certainly, all that 
was required for my investigation. Nevertheless the three 
persons whom Madame Clarinval had told of her vision were 
good enough to add their attestations ; I shall place these, too, 
before my readers' eyes. But I shall first give another 
statement, of equal significance in our investigation: that of 
Dr. Vercoutre, the distinguished physician. 



288 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY, 

ATTESTATIONS 



I the undersigned, Doctor of Medicine of the Paris Faculty, 
hereby certify that Madame Anna Clarinval, despite the severe test 
that she v/as put to when she lost her son Rene, an aviator killed 
at the front, has never suffered the slightest mental trouble. On 
the contrary, it was due to the perfect clearness of her mind that 
she was able to bring to a successful conclusion the extremely diffi- 
cult search for the remains of her dear dead son. 

Doctor Vercoutre,^ 
Member of the Association of French 
Physicians; officer of the 
Paris, February 14, 1921. Legion of Honor. 

B 

It is with all my heart that I am sending you these lines, certify- 
ing that my friend Madame Clarinval had told me all that she 
wrote you. She did so several days after she saw the vision of her 
son. Allow me to add that this did not astonish me in the least, 
and that, wishing to calm her, I advised her to hope, in spite of 
what I thought of it all. 

I must add that my friend Madame Clarinval, before the vision, 
did not believe in spiritism in the least,^ and would not even allow 
people to speak of it in her presence. 

Baroness de Bournat. 



I am very happy to be able to certify that Madame Clarinval, 
during the first days in June of last year, told me that on May 
25th she had seen her son appear to her in a group of trees in the 
rue Ribera, which is directly in front of her home; that on each 
side of her son there was a young mun whom she did not know; 

1 It seems indiscreet to me to give addresses (they are now before 
me) of the sic^ners of these four bits of testimony. 

2 To identify this vision with spiritistic experiments would be 
a mistake. 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 289 

these men appeared to be a Russian and a German. She was greatly 
preoccupied by this apparition and spoke of it often. 

It was only when she made a trip to Verdun, in September, that 
she understood what the extraordinary vision meant. 

J. DUMAILLET. 

D 

I am happy to attest the authenticity of the communication which 
you received from Madame Clarinval; I had read it before she 
sent it. 

The account is scrupulously exact in every detail. Madame Clarin- 
val had told me of her vision eight days after she had it. 

M. Barbier. 

Such was this occurrence. It is unquestionable ; the ac- 
count of it v^as based on observations mutually in agreement. 
The manifestation came long after death: from September 2, 
1916, to May 25, 1920, there are three years and two hundred 
and sixty-six days — that is, three years, eight months, and 
twenty-six days. 

What conclusion may we draw, in the interests of our own 
personal convictions? 

Monsieur and Madame Clarinval came, themselves, to talk 
to me about their experiences. My investigation was made 
as methodically as in the case of an astronomical, a meteoro- 
logical, a geological phenomenon, or a historical fact. It was 
a real scientific inquirj^ No doubt can remain as to the 
authenticity of the vision, and its connection with the dis- 
covery of the young aviator's body. We all of us feel how 
great was the resultant consolation, to the grief-stricken 
mother, to the hopeless father: their dear child's body is now 
here, in the city of 'Paris, where they are living. Nothing is 
left of it, or almost nothing. But the body was only the 
garment of the soul, and they know that the soul survived 
the catastrophe of death, that it manifested itself, that it 
guided them in their energetic and persevering inquiry. 



290 DEATH AND ITS MYSTEEY 

We are, doubtless, not yet entirely satisfied. We should like 
to know more, and we ask ourselves why there was this sym- 
bolism in the vision, why this enigmatical apparition, be- 
tween the Eussian and the Germ.an. It would seem that it 
would have been simpler for Rene Clarinval to inform his 
mother, directly, that he had been killed on September 2d, 
and buried in such and such a place. 

We might suppose, perhaps, that since Madame Clarinval 
was thinking constantly of her son, she was endowed for a 
moment with the faculty of seeing at a distance, or, to phrase 
it more precisely, with the faculty of feeling what was taking 
place. And we might suppose, too, that the feeling took the 
concrete form, to her eyes, of a living scene: the apparition 
of her son between a Russian and a German. But, in this 
case, why should she no.t have seen the reality ?* I have pub- 
lished so many examples of precise visioning at a distance 
that this interpretation seems very debatable and less prob- 
able than that of psychic influence on the part of the de- 
ceased. 

We must not, we cannot judge things from our common- 
place point of view. The whole of the invisible world is still 
to be discovered ; we know neither its conditions nor its laws. 
Let us be grateful for the rudimentary knowledge that has 
been vouchsafed us, with which to begin our investigation. 
Christopher Columbus discovered America, believing that he 
had reached the East Indies : it was a new world, on the op- 
posite side of the globe from the East Indies. The spiritual 
world is still less known to us than America, in 1492, was to 
the people living at that time, although it concerns us more 
deeply and is all about us. 

What shall we think of the following case? A person 
gifted with the faculty of foreseeing the deaths of certain 
people proved to be endowed with this same faculty after 
death. Let us read the account of it; it is given word for 
word: 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 291 

Dear Master: 

I must tell you of the following personal experiences. In 1891 
I was not yet married. I knew in Paris a most intelligent woman, 
fifty years old, who took a great liking to me. She had this pe- 
culiarity: she always dreamed of the misfortunes which were to 
happen to her friends and acquaintances. How many times was I 
not a witness of the veracity of her dreams! One day, when she 
saw that I had been rather frightened by her power of prevision, 
she said to me, laughing : "Don't be afraid ; I '11 never foretell your 
death to you, for that would make you suffer — only the deaths of 
others." 

She herself died that same year (1891), after having foreseen 
her own death, as she had the deaths of other people, in her dreams. 

My regret was sincere, but having left Paris, and even left 
France, I was no longer thinking of her, when, one night in Decem- 
ber, 1892, she appeared to me in a dream. She was dressed in 
black. Gazing at me sadly, she said to me, "All is over." I 
suffered terribly, without knowing what she meant. My father was 
ill at the time, but I had had a letter from him on that very day 
— a happier letter than usual, for he was better. Three days after 
this dream he died. It was the first and the greatest sorrow of 
my life. 

In November, 1895, she appeared to me again, still dressed in 
black, but this time she did not speak to me. Three days later my 
beloved mother was dead. 

At length, in October, 1898, I saw her, still in black, for the 
third time. "Whose turn is it now?" I asked myself. Alas! it 
was my best friend, who was living in Wiesbaden, and whom I loved 
with all my heart. The next day I received a letter from her; she 
was unwell, but she wrote gayly and cleverly, as she always did. 
Three days afterward, however, through a telegram from her hus- 
band, I learned of her death. 

These were, certainly, three very strange dreams; in them my 
woman friend still had the habits peculiar to her while she was 
alive. You alone, dear Master, may be able to explain them. 
This woman in black had, until her death, denied the existence of 
the soul. We often discussed this subject, for at that time I was 
certain that the soul exists, as I am now. 



292 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Why is it she who appears to me to predict the deaths of those 
whom I love? To prove to me, doubtless, that she was mistaken 
when she was alive, and that my belief was the true one. 

I have no other religion save a great love for the Creator of 
life in His all-powerful grandeur, and for everything here below 
that reflects His image. 

Ida Cail, 
Paris. 
(Letter 803.) 

Walter Scott, who wrote a book on spirits, apparitions, 
and sorcery,^ showed himself a radical skeptic. He denied 
these occurrences utterly, thinking them only hallucinations, 
nightmares caused by indigestion, visual or auditory illu- 
sions, and even, most of the time, symptoms of mental de- 
rangement. He gives, moreover, examples of temporary 
insanity, such as the visions of Nicolai and of Gregory, well 
known to historians. To him all apparitions were mental 
impressions on the part of people who were ill. 

I shall borrow the following narration from him. De- 
spite his opinion it seems to me worthy of attention, seen 
in the light of present-day knowledge. We are concerned 
with Maupertuis, a member of the Paris and Berlin Academy 
of Sciences; he was its president, in fact. Here is Walter 
Scott's account: 

A short time after Maupertuis's death. Monsieur Gladisch was 
obliged to cross the room in which the Academy held its meetings. 
He had some work to do in the Natural History room, which came 
within his province, and he wished, furthermore, to prepare himself 
for Thursday, before the hour of meeting. When he en- 
tered the room, he perceived Monsieur de Maupertuis's shade, 
erect and motionless, in the first corner on his left; the appari- 
tion's eyes were fixed on him. It was three o'clock in the after- 

1 Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, translated into French by 
Albert Montemont (Paris, 1838) p. 36. 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 293 

noon. The professor of philosophy knew too much about physics 
to suppose that his president, who had died in Bale, with Monsieur 
Bernoulli's family, had come back in person to Berlin. He re- 
garded the thing only as an illusion caused by some derangement 
of his organs. He went on about his business without being 
stopped any longer by this object. But he told his colleagues of 
the vision, assuring them that he had seen a shape as well formed 
and as perfect as Monsieur de Maupertuis himself. 

When we remember that Maupertuis died far from Berlin, for- 
merly the scene of his triumph, crushed by the merciless ridicule of 
Voltaire and out of favor with Frederick, in whose eyes to be 
ridiculous was to be guilty, we can hardly be astonished by this 
spell which fell upon a physicist who thought he saw Maupertuis's 
phantom in the room which had witnessed his early grandeur. 

Walter Scott refused to admit the possibility of the reality 
of this apparition. Nevertheless he believed firmly in the 
story of the fallen angels, in Adam and Eve 's fall, in the del- 
uge, in the Chosen People, in diabolical powers, in the eter- 
nal damnation of children v^ho died without being baptized, 
and in other legends devoid of all experimental proof. 

Schopenhauer considered, with his usual critical acumen — 
which was sternly analyi;ical but a trifle obscure — ^this ques- 
tion of apparitions of the dead.^ He reached the conclusion 
that apparitions of the dying and the dead are subjective, 
in the mind of the seer; that the first are of frequent occur- 
rence, the second exceedingly rare. He gives a great many 
examples, and takes up in particular the case of the Seer of 
Prevorst. The reader can pronounce upon Schopenhauer's 
ideas better if I give the final conclusions of his dissertation: 

Apparitions are, like dreams, mere appearances, and, like them, 
exist only in the consciousness which perceives them; but the 

^ Par erg a und Paralipomena (Berlin, 1851; second ed,, published 
by Frauenstadt, 1862). A good French translation was published under 
the title Memoires sur les sciences occultes, Magn6tisme et Apparitions 
(Paris, Leymarie, 1912). 



294 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

same may be said of our real, external world. Our immediate 
perception of this world is a mere appearance; it is a mere mental 
phenomenon caused by nervous excitation, and governed by the laws 
of our subjective functions (forms of pure sensibility and reason). 
Could we have any other sort of reality? The question which arises 
is that of the thing in itself. This problem, discussed by Locke and 
solved too hastily, was taken up by Kant, who saw all its perplexi- 
ties. Finally I found its solution, although with a certain limita- 
tion. But, in any case, no matter in what way the thing in itself 
(which shows itself in our perception of an exterior world) is dis- 
tinguished from this world, as in the case of apparitions of spirits, 
there is in this, perhaps, only manifestations of will. In the matter 
of the objective reality of the apparitions of spirits, as with the 
physical world, there are four different systems of thought : realism, 
idealism, skepticism, and, finally, the critical philosophy, the meta- 
physical system which I have adopted. 

It appears from his rather fine-spun dissertation that to 
Schopenhauer it is our inner vision — what he calls *'the 
organs of dreamjng" — ^v^hich perceives lapparitions ; that 
apparitions of the living are rather numerous and those of 
the dead extremely rare; and that the thing in us v^hich 
survives the destruction of the body is not the soul, *'for 
Man is not made up of a body and a soul," but the will. 
He declares that spiritualism is in error; that it is idealism 
which is true; that our vision of the exterior world is not 
merely sensuous but above all intellectual, and that it is the 
same with the visioning of spirits. 

The theories of the German philosopher have, with good 
reason, been widely discussed. But we cannot pass them by 
in silence. 

The following remarks, which he made on the subject of 
the apparition of spirits and of souls in purgatory, are 
strange : 

To deny, a priori, the possibility of apparitions and to ridicule 
this possibility, as is ordinarily done — such a procedure can only 



SECOND, THIRD, AND FOURTH YEARS AFTER 295 

be based on the conviction that death is the absolute end of Man, 
unless such a conviction were founded on the beliefs of the Protes- 
tant Church. By the Protestant way of thinking, spirits cannot ap- 
pear, because, according as human beings believed or did not believe 
during their few years of earthly life, they will as soon as they are 
dead go to eternal joys in heaven, or suffer torments equally eter- 
nal in hell, and they can never leave either of these places. As a 
consequence, according to the Protestant belief, all apparitions of 
this sort come from the devil, or from the angels, but are never 
caused by the souls of men. This was explained at length by 
Lavater ("De Spectris," Geneva, 1580, Part II, Chapters 3 and 4). 
The Catholic Church, on the contrary, even in the sixth century, 
owed it to Pope Gregory the Great, in particular, that this absurd 
and revolting dogma was, fortunately, ameliorated through a be- 
lief in purgatory. This middle state was interpolated between the 
two extremes of these desperate alternatives. The Catholic Church 
admits that it is possible for souls that are in purgatory, for a 
short time, to appear. It even admits that other souls may appear, 
under exceptional circumstances, as is explained at length in Petrus 
Thyracus's book ("De Locis infestis," Part I, Chapter 3, and follow- 
ing chapters). The Protestants believed themselves forced to main- 
tain that the devil existed, for the simple reason that they could 
not get along without him in explaining apparitions of spirits that 
were impossible to deny. Apart from such mythological views, the 
possibility of the real apparition of the dead cannot be rejected save 
on the conviction that when Man dies he is utterly annihilated. 
Aside from this conviction, one cannot see why a being which still 
exists somewhere, might not manifest itself and even influence 
another being, though the latter were in an altogether different state. 
If we wish to admit the possibility of the dead really acting upon 
the world of the living, we must also admit that this influence is 
exerted with difficulty and is rare and exceptional. 

I have given Schopenhauer's dissertation at greater length 
in my book (still unpublished) ''Les Apparitions." In giv- 
ing a resume of it here, I w^ish to remind my readers that 
while he admits the possibility of apparitions, the German 
philosopher does not explain them very clearly to himself. 



296 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

since these visual phenomena seem to him both subjective 
and objective. Be that as it may, he does not doubt mani- 
festations of the dead. 

Let us continue our experimental survey, a survey that is 
independent of all theories. It is progressing gradually. 



MANIFESTATIONS AND APPARITIONS PROM FOUR TO 
THIRTY YEARS AFTER DEATH 

Are there any scientific observations 
which permit us to doubt the total disap- 
pearance of the individual, after he is 
dead ? 

Le Dantec. 

THE accounts which we have just read differ in value. 
All of liheni present testimony as to survival, but 
certain of them are pervaded by such a human 
quality that we may well ask ourselves whether future an- 
thropological science may not, one day, discover an explana- 
tion. Some, however, seem to be unquestionable posthumous 
manifestations, definitely and rigorously proved, such as, 
for example, the manifestation of the sailor Scotti, saving his 
son and the son's vessel (page 280) ; the young girl, dead for 
a year, seen in Monsieur Cavagnaro's apartment (page 265) ; 
General Dryson's friend who was murdered in China (page 
258) ; a mother's visit to her child in the Alberlour Orphan- 
age (page 255) ; the Sentenac parish priest (page 218) ; 
Count Beni of Lucera, who announced to his wife and his 
mother that he had been murdered (page 170) ; the astron- 
omer Tweedale's grandmother, who appeared to him as well 
as to his father (page 134) ; Mademoiselle Stella's friend 
(page 127) ; Robert Mackenzie (page 26), and a certain 
number of other manifestations as plain as sunlight at noon. 
Nevertheless a very well-known contemporary writer, Felix 
Le Dantec, who is esteemed for his honest-mindedness (he 
is a convinced materialist and atheist) wrote me in 1914: 
*'I shall soon be forty-five years old, and T have never per- 

297 



298 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

ceived anything that justified me in believing in extraphysical 
intervention. If souls could manifest themselves, it would 
be most astonishing that I had never found a single one 
of them in evidence when I made my observations." ^ And 
he wrote with entire conviction the sentenoe given at the 
beginning of this chapter. 

I do not think that a single one of my readers cian be 
of this same negative opinion. 

Our classification of posthumous occurrences has shown us 
that manifestations may occur a very long time after death. 
"We now reach those which took place some time after dis- 
solution: five, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty, sixty years 
and more. I have not enough space to set all of them be- 
fore my readers' eyes. All of them are, moreover, open 
to discussion. We shall examine the principal ones. Read- 
ers will be struck, in these cases also, by clear and unques- 
tionable examples — among others, that of Palladia, who ap- 
peared recurrently during a number of years (page 302) 
as well as that of Monsieur Cocozza's father, ten years after 
his death (page 310). We shall investigate these pos.thu- 
mous manifestations so long after death. 

Apparitions of the dead have already been classified by 
Frederic Myers, in a very detailed statistical study ("Human 
Personality," 1903, Volume II, page 14), in the order of 
their relative frequency after the day of dissolution. His 
statistics show that the maximum number occur at the mo- 
ment of death. I have come to virtually the same conclusion 
in classifying the accounts sent me. The manifestations be- 
gin before death — several hours, even several days before it — 
when the subject is in a state of coma or weakness, and we 
set them down under the heading of telepathic manifesta- 
tions of the dying. (See ''L'Inconnu," pages 59 to 215 
and 411 to 457, and "At the Moment of Death," chapters 
IV, V, XI, and XII.) These occurrences suggested the pos- 

1 Le Dantec, Le prohleme de la mort et la conscience universelle, p. 69. 



FOUR TO THIRTY YEARS AFTER DEATH 299 

sibility that certain manifestations of the dead might be 
delayed manifestations of the living, which had remained 
latent in the percipients' brains for some physiological reason. 
The case of Helene Noell was of this particular kind (Vol- 
ume II, page 320). But this theory is applicable only to a 
small number of cases. Certain apparitions did not mani- 
fest themselves for several months, or even several years 
after dissolution. We saw, from our own classification, that 
the greatest number were observed during the first days, 
the first weeks, the first months. By the end of the first year 
the phenomena diminished in number: this may be repre- 
sented graphically by a very sharply dipping curve. It does 
not seem to me, however, as it does to Myers, that the curve 
could be lowered to zero, and instead of his diagram in which 
it touched the bottom line, at its right extremity, I should 
like to propose the diagram shown below. It is based on 



I 2 3 45 6 7Q-9'o/</2 More ihan 
^ . one year 

Months ^ 

thousands of comparisons which I have made, and takes 
into consideration apparitions more than one year after 
death, for there are certain apparitions of this sort, though 
they are rare. And we cannot omit all consideration of 
haunted houses. 

The accounts in the preceding chapter have already in- 
cluded phenomena occurring several years after death. We 



300 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

shall push on. If all these scientific observations were false, 
illusory, this would be entirely useless. Each of my careful 
readers can judge for himself, as I do. Though many of 
the accounts make us entirely certain as to the authenticity 
of the facts related and the resultant proofs of survival after 
death, it is not to be doubted that others appear to warrant 
the theory of autosuggestion, illusion, hallucination. Y\^hat 
are we seeking, in all freedom of conscience? The truth. 
Now, there are two alternatives: either the stories that we 
have read are all false, or there are true ones among them. 
Were but a single one of them true, incontestable, unques- 
tionable, its reality would suffice to prove survival after 
death. Well, I ask every honest-minded reader to which 
side the balance leans. Does not the heavy side of posi- 
tive occurrences outweigh, decisively, the light side of de- 
batable or uncertain cases? In every human work, mistakes 
may occur. We are not dealing with mathematical theorems. 
Let us, above all, be fair; let us judge things as they must 
be judged. A grain of oats lost in a bushel of wheat does 
not lessen the value of the grains of wheat. If, therefore, 
we take things as a whole, we are led to think that those 
readers who are not yet convinced will never be convinced 
by any proof. I know perfectly honest-minded men who 
think, sincerely, that the rotation of the earth has not been 
proved ! 

J'rom among the posthumous manifestations which belong, 
chronologically, after the preceding ones, I shall first submit 
the following one to my readers. It took place as late as 
the third year. 

Dr. Martin, of the Paris Faculty, who lived in Penne, Lot- 
et-Garonne, wrote me in March, 1899: 

Two most respectable ladies, who are still alive and can furnisH 
attestations, were living in a honse in the open country in which, 
three years before, an infirm old man had died. He had lived on 



FOUR TO THIRTY YEARS AFTER DEATH 301 

the second floor and had tyrannized over the servants by continually 
ringing the bell. The bell was in the vestibule, on the ground 
floor, high up near the ceiling, and the wires had been removed 
after his death. Now, one fine day, these ladies and their servants 
heard a diabolical peal; they rushed into the vestibule, where they 
saw the bell ringing madly. Terrified, the witnesses of this went 
through every part of the house. There were no practical jokers 
about, and they ascertained that the wires were still missing. The 
ringing lasted a certain number of minutes, and then stopped. 
They always supposed that the old fellow had fallen back into a 
former habit of his. This took place at the home of Mesdames 
Daubeze, in Castel-Sarrasin. 

There is no need for me to add that the attempts to discover a 
natural explanation ended in nothing. 

Dr. Martin. 

(Letter 148.) 

My investigation (it was, however, superfluous) confirmed 
the authenticity of this account. It cannot have surprised 
my readers. They will remember, in particular, the account 
on page 244 of our first volume, with its accompanying 
sketch. They know that these odd manifestations — so in- 
comprehensible, so inexplicable — were witnessed by observ- 
ers as well balanced as you and I. 

People object, sometimes, that these are most commonplace 
things. I am the first to acknowledge the truth of this — 
above all, when we regard the problems to be cleared up 
from the philosophical point of view. But what can I do 
about it? Rain is commonplace, too, and so is the birth of 
a child (eighty-six thousand, four hundred babies a day are 
born on our diminutive planet.) 

In general, the dwellers on our globe are not philosophers, 
thinkers, or savants. On the day after death they must 
be the same as the day before. 

The time to put forward theories has not yet come. This 
work has only one object: to prove a certain fact — ^that the 



302 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

dead manifest themselves. Even this is a great deal, and I 
shall be satisfied if I succeed in convincing my readers of 
that much. 

We shall now consider an apparition that occurred re^ 
peatedly. It was seen not only by two persons but by sev- 
eral, and it was perceived by a dog. It is particularly in- 
teresting. I am taking it from Myers's "Human Personal- 
ity'' (Volume II, page 21). It was described in the follow- 
ing terms by a Russian magistrate, Monsieur Mamtchitch: 

St. Petersburg, April 29, 1891. 

Palladia was the daughter of a rich Russian landowner, who died 
one month before she was born. Her mother, in despair, dedicated 
her unborn child to life in a convent. The girl's name owed its 
origin to this circumstance; it was what the nuns called her. Two 
years afterward her mother died, and the orphan was brought up, 
until the age of fourteen, in a Moscow convent, by her aunt, who 
was the mother superior. 

In 1870, when I was still a student in the University of Moscow, 
I made the acquaintance of Palladia's brother, a student like my- 
self, and we often talked of giving back to the world this girl who 
was a nun, though not by her own choice. But our plan was not 
realized until 1872. I had gone to Moscow in the summer, to see 
the exposition, and I met Palladia's brother there, by chance- I 
learned that he was preparing to send her to the Crimea for her 
health, and I seconded this project as earnestly as I could. It was 
then that I saw Palladia for the first time. She was fourteen; 
though tall, she was very timid, and she already had tuberculosis. 
On her brother's request, I accompanied her and her sister to the 
Crimea, where they spent the winter. 

In the summer of 1873 I happened to meet Palladia and her 
sister in Odessa, where they had gone to consult physicians. On 
August 27th, while I was reading to the two sisters. Palladia died, 
suddenly, of an aneurism. She was fifteen years old. 

Two years afterward, in 1875, when I was in Kieff, I happened, 
one December evening, to be at a spiritistic seance for the first 
time. I heard blows inside the table, but this did not astonish me 



FOUR TO THIRTY YEARS AFTER DEATH 303 

in the least, for I was convinced that it was a joke. When I got 
back home, I wished to see if I could produce any rapping; I 
assumed the same position, with my hands on the table. Soon I 
heard blows. Imitating the procedure which I had witnessed, I be- 
gan to recite the alphabet. Palladia's name was dictated. I was 
astonished and almost frightened. Not being able to calm myself, 
I again took up my position near the table, and asked Palladia 
what she had to say to me. The reply was, "Set the angel up; it 
is fallhig down." I did not understand what she was talking about. 
She is buried in Kieff, and I had heard it said that they wished 
to put up a monument on her grave, but had never been to the spot 
where she was buried and did not know what sort of tombstone 
it was. 

I did not go back to bed, and as soon as dawn came I went to 
the cemetery. With the superintendent's assistance, and not with- 
out difficulty, I discovered the grave, buried under the snow. I 
halted, astounded: the marble statue of the angel, with a cross, was 
tilted, markedly, to one side. 

From this I concluded that there is another world, with which we 
can enter into relations. 

In October, 1876, 1 was moving into my new dwelling (rue Drores- 
naya) with Potolof, my colleague in the Department of Justice. 
I was in a very good humor, and was playing on a small, upright 
piano; it was about eight o'clock in the evening. On one side of 
me was my study; it, too, was lighted by a lamp. My comrade was 
busy at his desk, at the other end of these adjoining rooms. All 
the doors were open, and from where he sat he could see the study 
very distinctly, and the room in which I was. Suddenly I saw 
Palladia! She was standing in the middle of the doorway, her 
form turned a little to one side. Her face was toward me; she was 
looking at me calmly. She had on the same dark dress which she 
had worn when she died in my presence. Her right hand hung 
free. I saw her shoulders and her waist distinctly. I was looking 
into her eyes the whole time, queerly enough, without thinking that 
a dead person stood before me. She was lighted up on both sides, 
and my eyesight is very good. But I admit that at once I felt a 
shiver run down my spine, and was as though petrij[ied! It was 
not fear, it was something else, such as the feeling I have when 



304 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

I look down from a great height; at such thries I experience a 
terrible, giddy qualm. I could not say hoAv long Palladia remained 
there before me, but I remember that she moved to the right and 
vanished behind the door of the study. I rushed toward her. 
Only then did I remember that she was dead. 

At that moment my comrade came up to me and asked me what 
was the matter. I told him what had just happened; then we went 
into the study, where we found no one. My comrade, who had 
heard me suddenly stop playing, had lifted his head and, so far 
as I can remember, he told me that he, too, had seen some one 
pass before the door. Because of my excitement he told me, to 
calm me, that it was probably my servant, who had come to attend 
to the lamp. But this servant was downstairs, in the kitchen. That 
was how I saw Palladia for the first time, three years after her 
death. 

I have often seen her since. Sometimes she appears to me three 
times in a week or twice on the same day; or even a month may go 
by without my seeing her. 

Palladia always appears unexpectedly, taking me by surprise at a 
time when I am least anticipating it. 

Never do I see her in my dreams. 

I see her both when I am alone and with a great many people. 

She always appears to me with the same serene expression in her 
eyes; sometimes with a slight smile. 

I always see her in the dark dress which she wore when she died 
before my eyes. I see, distinctly, her face, her head, her shoulders, 
and her arms, but I do not see her feet, or, rather, do not think 
of looking at them. 

On these occasions, when I see Palladia unexpectedly, I grow 
dumb, I have a feeling of coldness in my back, I turn pale, I utter 
a feeble cry, and my breathing stops (this is what I am told by 
those who have by chance seen me at such moments). 

The apparitions of Palladia last one, two, or three minutes, then 
gradually vanish and dissolve. 

These manifestations bear a great resemblance to the best- 
knov^^n types of hallucinations, v\^ith the exception, however, 
of the first one : the revelation concerning the grave in the 



FOUR TO THIRTY YEARS AFTER DEATH 305 

cemetery. The following experiences do not bear out this 
analogy : 

In 1879, at the end of November, I was in Kieff, seated at my 
desk, writing out an indictment. It was eight o'clock in the eve- 
ning; my watch was before me on the table. I was hurrying to 
finish my work, for at nine o'clock I was to go to an evening party. 
Suddenly I saw Palladia seated in an arm-chair before me; her 
right elbow was on a table and her head was in her hand. When I 
had recovered from the shock, I looked at my watch, following with 
my eyes the movement of the second-hand. Then I lifted my gaze 
to Palladia. I saw that she had not changed her position, and I 
could see her elbow, clearly, on the table. Her eyes gazed at me 
with joy and serenity. Then, for the first time, I decided to speak 
to her. "How do you feel, nowf I asked. Her face remained 
impassive; her lips, so far as I can remember, did not move, but I 
distinctly heard her voice utter the word "Calm." — "I understand,'' 
I answered. And, as a matter of fact, I understood at that moment 
all the meaning she had put into the word. That I might be still 
more certain that I was not dreaming, I looked at the watch again, 
and the second-hand. When I looked at Palladia once more I 
noted that she had begun to melt away and vanish. 

In 1885 I was living with my parents on an estate in the Province 
of Poltava. One day, when I woke up at dawn, I saw Palladia. 
She was standing before me, about five paces away, gazing at me 
with a joyful smile. Drawing near me, she spoke these words: 
"I have been, I have seen," and, still smiling, she disappeared. 
What did these words mean? I could not understand them. In 
my room my dog was sleeping near me. As soon as I saw Palladia, 
the dog's hair bristled. With a yelp, he jumped up on my bed, 
pressed against me, and looked in the direction in which I was gaz- 
ing. He did not bark, though ordmarily he let no one enter my 
room without barking and growling. Whenever my dog saw Pal- 
ladia he pressed against me, as though seeking a refuge. I spoke 
to no one about the incident. The evening of that same day, a 
young girl w^ho was stopping with us told me that something strange 
had happened to her that morning. "When I waked up early this 
morning," she said, "I had a feeling that some one was standing at 



306 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

the head of my bed, and I heard a voice saying to me, distinctly, 
'Don't be afraid of me; I'm good and loving/ I turned my head, 
but saw nothing." 

A year later, I was engaged to this girl. I must add that on the 
previous occasion I had met the young lady for the first time, and 
was not thinking in the least of a future marriage. 

Five years afterward, in 1890, I was with my wife and my son, 
aged two. We were staying with my old friends the Strijewskys, 
on their estate in the Province of Woroneje. One day, about seven 
o'clock in the evening, I was returning from a hunting expedition. 
I went into the wing in which we were living, in order to change my 
clothes. I was seated in a room lighted by a large lamp. The 
door opened and my son Oleg hurried to where I sat in an arm- 
chair. Then, suddenly. Palladia appeared before me. I noticed 
that he did not take his eyes from her. He turned to me; pointing 
at her, he spoke these two words: "My aunt." I took him on my 
knee and glanced toward Palladia, but she had vanished. Oleg's 
face was absolutely calm and joyful; he was only beginning to 
speak ; this explains his words concerning the apparition. 

This detailed statement was supplemented by the substan- 
tiating declarations of the other v^itnesses. This is important, 
for the first explanation which occurs to us, in every case, 
is that of a possible hallucination. Among others, Madame 
Mamtchitch wrote : 

I remember very well that on July 10, 1885, when we were visit- 
ing Monsieur C. Mamtchitch's relatives, I waked up at daybreak, 
for my sister and I had agreed that we would take an early morn- 
ing walk. I sat up in bed and saw that Mama and my sister were 
asleep. At that moment I had a feeling that some one was standing 
at the head of my bed. I half turned around, for I was, so to 
speak, afraid to look, but saw no one. When I had lain down 
again I heard at once, behind me and above my head, a woman's 
voice saying in a low tone, but distinctly, "Don't be afraid of me; 
I 'm good and loving," and a whole sentence more, which I forgot 
as soon as she had spoken it. Immediately afterward I dressed 
and went out for a walk. It is strange that I was n't frightened in 



FOUR TO THIRTY YEARS AFTER DEATH 307 

the least. I said nothing about it to my mother and my sister, for 
they did not like such things, and did not believe in them; but on 
the evening of that same day, when the conversation turned on 
problems of the unknown, I told Monsieur Mamtchitch what had 
happened to me that morning. 

Such is the story of this odd psychic manifestation. 
Plainly, if we should persist \n seeing here only an hallucina- 
tion, we should be in error, for we should have to admit that 
(1) the narrator (2) his wife, who was at that time a stranger 
to him (3) his child, two years old, (4) his dog — we should 
have to admit, I say, that all these were the victims of hal- 
lucinations. We should still have to explain the first warn- 
ing, regarding the cemetery. Everything, in this case, would 
lead us to decide in favor of real manifestations on the part 
of the deceased Palladia (who died at the age of fifteen) in 
the years 1873, 1875, 1876, 1879, 1885, and 1890— that is to 
say, two, three, six, twelve, and seventeen years after her 
death. The only way to avoid reaching this conclusion would 
be to accuse the narrator of having made up a whole series of 
lies. That is a most serious accusation. And the magistrate 
has some one to vouch for his honesty : Aksakof . 

That there were hallucinations may be granted in the cases 
of certain visual and auditory phenomena; but this hy- 
pothesis is far from explaining everything, as is generally 
imagined. Even if hallucinations played the chief role, 
people about whom the narrators were thinking would show 
themselves, rather than spontaneous apparitions of unknown 
people. And it would be nervous, sensitive people who 
would have these visions, rather than those who are calm, 
well poised, and often skeptical. Out of five thousand ac- 
counts sent me from various social classes in various coun- 
tries, there were, perhaps, only a hundred sent by men or 
women (women, above all) whose mental poise might have 
been doubted — in whom light-headedness dominated reason. 



308 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Generally these observations are as positive as an astronomi- 
cal, meteorological, physical, or chemical observation made, 
on some one occasion, by chance, and under unexpected con- 
ditions. There is nothing pathological about them. 

It cannot be doubted that (at times) we receive warnings 
in dreams. In general these warnings would seem to come 
from ourselves, from our own consciousness, from our sub- 
conscious minds. But they are (at times) connected with 
communications from dead relatives. This connection may 
be only an apparent one, and have no basis in fact. Never- 
theless we knoWj on the other hand ("Before Death," pago 
308), that there are voices from outside ourselves — voices 
that are unreal, but of psychic origin. Besides, it happens 
not infrequently that we see dead persons in dreams, as 
though they were still alive, and they do not count for 
nothing in these illusions. When, therefore, a warning is 
given by a friend beyond the grave, the question arises as 
to whether or not this deceased person was really the sender 
of the warning. 

The following letter presents this problem. It was sent 
me from Baltimore, Maryland, by an interested reader. 

When I was young — nineteen years old — I lost a mother whom 
I adored. Her memory is sacred to me and I often used to take 
counsel of it, mentally. Several years later — five or six years — I 
had to go through great struggles, and was, without knowing it, in 
much danger. 

One night I was sleeping deeply, without dreaming. I saw no 
one; no scene rose before me, but my mother's voice said to me 
distinctly, "Take care, Fanny V^ I cannot tell you if I woke up 
when I heard the voice, or after hearing it, I know that I still 
heard, distinctly, the sound of this dear, familiar voice when I was 
fully awake — a voice the sound of which remained engraved upon 
my heart. The next day, at a certain moment, I understood sud- 
denly why my mother's voice had put me on my guard. 

Several of my dreams have come true. They are what I might 



FOUR TO THIRTY YEARS AFTER DEATH 309 

call parable-dreams, and when I awaken I know their meaning in- 
tuitively; not after a time, but at once. 

Now that I am older, and perhaps stronger, less nervous, and less 
impressionable, such things have almost ceased to happen to me. 

It seems to me — if I may express my opinion — that we can more 
or less put ourselves in touch with psychic forces, or cut ourselves 
off from them. 

I have never seen an apparition, and the very thought of one 
frightens me, but, in order to reach a scientific conclusion, no re- 
search seems too arduous to me; for, dominating all my inner 
struggles, came this voice from beyond the grave, clear and distinct : 
a mother's warning to her child whom she saw in danger because 
of her ignorance. 

Why my mother's voice rather than any other? Whence came 
this voice? Why did not the presentiment of danger come to me 
precisely at the crucial moment? I often have presentiments, I 
feel things, and I believe in these presentiments; but my mother's 
voice was as clear and distinct as if she had spoken to me, in her 
earnest tone. And she did speak to me; therefore she is not dead. 

F. Th. Meylau, 
Bryn Mawr School, Baltimore. 

(Letter 653.) 

It seems to me that this voice belongs in the category of 
exterior causes, and came from the dead mother. It is anti- 
philosophicial to deny because of preconceived convictions. 
The narrator's perception may not have been one that could 
be ascribed merely to sentiment. 

The following occurrence is a clear case of posthumous 
intervention. 

A man who had been dead for ten years appeared to his 
children in a dream. He reproached them for having left 
his bones — unearthed by grave-diggers — abandoned in the 
snow, and the prey of wolves. They could not in the 
least have suspected that this was the case. This example 
is particularly remarkable in that it would seem to show 
with certainty the influence of the dead man, and because 



310 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

it led to legal action and the sentencing of the grave-dig- 
gers.^ 

Castel di Sangro, Italy, 
May, 1905. 

In the pretty little town of Castel di Sangro — lost in the midst 
of the high Abruzze-Aquilen Mountains and until a few days 
ago almost buried under the snow — something happened which 
has excited and held the attention, these last few days, of the 
local authorities and the whole population. 

On the night of the third of last March, Signore Pascal Cocozza, 
a worthy man — Baron Raphael Corrado's game-warden — saw, in 
a dream, his father, who had been dead for ten years. His father 
reproached him, as well as his brothers, for having forgotten him, 
and — something still more serious — for having left his poor bones, 
unearthed by grave-diggers, behind the tower in the cemetery, in 
the snow, the prey of wolves! 

Signore Cocozza, greatly affected by this gruesome dream, re- 
lated it to his sister the next day. To his great surprise, his 
sister declared that she had had precisely the same dream. Then 
the worthy warden, without further delay, and in spite of a 
snow-storm, took his rifle and went to the cemetery, situated on a 
hill above the town. There, behind the tower, among the brambles 
and on the snow, on which there were wolves' footprints, he saw 
human bones! The dream had, therefore, been veridical. 

Naturally, Signore Cocozza sent an accusation of the superin- 
tendent of the cemetery, FranQois Mannarelli, to the town hall. 
It was transmitted to Signore Casoria, the Justice of the Peace, who 
ordered the arrest of Mannarelli and three other grave-diggers. 
The accused men said, in self-justification, that since the time set 
for the exhumation of the bodies and their transportation to the 
charnel-house — ten years after burial — had just come, they were 
moving the bones at nightfall, had been overtaken by the snow and 
the cold, and had not been able to transfer some of the skeletons. 
At first the grave-diggers, in their own defense, tried to deny that 
the bones found were those of Signore Cocozza's father; in this way 
they could plead that the game-warden had not been wronged by 

1 Annales des Sciences psychiques, September, 1905, pp. 551-555. 



FOUR TO THIRTY YEARS AFTER DEATH 311 

their negligence. But it appeared, through confidential information 
and from other investigations made in the cemetery, that the 
bones were really those of Signore Cocozza, senior, who had been 
dead for ten years. 

The dream was veridical from every point of view. If, on the 
one hand, we cannot exclude the possibility of the grave-diggers 
having influenced the percipients telepathically, there remains, how- 
ever, an implication that some more than human agency intervened, 
some agency which alone knew that wolves had gnawed the bones. 
The grave-diggers, moreover, could not, when they exhumed the 
bodies, have known to whom the skeletons belonged. And lastly — 
and this is remarkable — two percipients, the only persons directly 
concerned, had this dream simultaneously. 

GuiDO FioccA-Novi. 

A careful, systematic investigation of these strange occur- 
rences has led to certain conclusions that are worthy of our 
attention. One of the most important documents in the case 
bears the stamp of the Castel di Sangro justice of the peace. 
Here it is: 

On Dr. Guido Fiocca Novi's demand and in the interests of scien- 
tific research, with the authorization of the Justice of the Peace of 
Castel di Sangro, 

We hereby certify: 

That, from the records of the trial instituted by the Justice of the 
Peace with an ordinance against Mannarelli Francesco, Gentil An- 
tonio, Fusco Ippolito, Petrarca Antonio, and Ricchiuto Giovanni, 
following an accusation dated March 4, 1905, for the misdemeanor 
of exhuming human bones, it appears : 

(1) On page 1 of the official records of March 4, 1905, that the 
police officer Vito Pesehinelli, as soon as he received the accusation 
of Signore Pascal Cocozza (son of the deceased Pierre), went to 
the spot and verified what Signore Cocozza had related. He found, 
also, that there were wolves' and foxes' footprints near the bones; 
this helped to explain the disappearance of certain portions of the 
skeleton. 

(2) On page 15 of the official report of the action brought by 



312 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

the plaintiff, dated March 7, 1905, that Signore Pascal Cocozza 
stated to the magistrate that on the night of March 3-4, he had seen, 
in a dream, his father, who had complained that no one thought of 
protecting his remains. He then went immediately to the cemetery, 
and afterward went back there with his brother-in-law, who told 
him that he remembered the precise spot where the deceased had 
been buried. Scattered over a distance of from fifteen to twenty 
meters, thirteen human bones were found. Signore Cocozza, senior, 
had died on January 10, 1895. 

(3) On page 20 of the Royal Riflemen's report, dated March 
7, containing the record of the investigation, the commanding officer 
of the riflemen (the author of the report) declared that everything 
led to the belief that the bones in question had been abandoned there 
by the grave-diggers because of the difficulty they had had in carry- 
ing them to the charnel-house, about which a great quantity of snow 
had accumulated. 

From the Clerk's Office of the Justice of the Peace (Castel di 
Sangro) May 24, 1905. 

RiDOLFI GuiDO; 

Assistant Clerk of the Court. 
(Official stamp of the 

Justice of the Peace) Examined this day hy A. Casoria, 

Justice of the Peace. 

Before publishing this case. Dr. Dariex, editor of the An- 
nales psychiques at that time, wrote to Dr. Fiocca-Novi once 
more, asking him for information as to the result of the 
grave-diggers' trial, and requesting him to find out whether 
in the days immediately preceding the dream Signore Co- 
cozza had not passed near the cemetery, where, more or less 
unconsciously, he might have been struck by its disordered 
condition. Here is the doctor's reply: 

Castel di Sangro, August 4, 1905. 

First, I shall give the result of the trial : The grave-diggers were 
found guilty. The superintendent, Mannarelli, was acquitted, be- 



FOUR TO THIRTY YEARS AFTER DEATH 313 

cause he was able to justify his absence. Siguore Cocozza was al- 
lowed to assume the position of plaintiff, as the injured party, since 
the Justice of the Peace admitted, after the proofs submitted dur- 
ing the proceedings, the reality of the dream. 

As for the accidental or subconscious knowledge which Signore 
Cocozza might have had as to the condition of the bones, this theory 
must be absolutely ruled out: (1) because the cemetery is difficult 
of access; a special trip must be made to it; it is on the top of a 
very precipitous pass, surrounded by great, mediaeval walls, as you 
may see from the enclosed photograph; (2) because, at the time 
when this happened, the snow was very high, wolves infested the 
country-side and we had had nothing less than 21° below zero! It 
was precisely for these reasons that the poor grave-diggers had with- 
drawn. How could Signore Cocozza have been walking in the 
graveyard under such conditions, when it was only with the great- 
est difficulty that he and the other subordinates (my clerk included) 
were persuaded to leave their houses?, . . . 

GuiDO FioccA-Novi. 

Can we reasonably dispute the fact that there was direct 
influence on the part of this man who had been dead for 
ten years? 

These experiences are of the greatest interest. 

Sinoe this chapter is devoted to posthumous manifesta- 
tions observed from four to thirty years after dissolution, I 
must here remind my readers of the occurrence related in Vol- 
ume II (page 314) by Miss Lucy Dodson. A mother ap- 
peared, sixteen years after her death, bearing in her arms two 
children which she held out to her daughter, whose sister-in- 
law had just died, as a result of confinement. But we may 
suppose that the woman who was in childbed, thinking of 
the future of these children, acted telepathically on her 
sister-in-law, and that she herself produced the image of the 
mother. 

In the matter of identity, we can be less certain, in this 
case, than in the case given on page 88 : a father, dead for 



314 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

fourteen years, who appeared to his son and to his daughter- 
in-law. 

The following occurrence took place twenty years after 
death. I am taking an account of it from a letter sent me 
in May, 1900. The apparition, in a dream, seemed objective 
to the dreamer. Was there, in this case, only a wave of 
memory due to the subconscious mind? That hypothesis 
deserves discussion. 

Mr. Holbrook, editor of the ''Herald of Health" (New 
York), wrote on July 30, 1884 ^i 

In the spring of 1870 I had an attack of acute bronchitis, which 
made me very ill. Since I had had a similar attack every winter 
and every spring for several years, I was most disturbed and be- 
lieved that it would become chronic, and would^ perhaps, end fatally. 
I was young and having just begun a line of work in which I 
wished to remain for a long time, I was most dejected by the pros- 
pect. 

One day I fell into a deep sleep, and had the following dream, 
which is still fresh in my memory: 

My sister, who had been dead for more than twenty years, and 
whom T had almost forgotten, drew near my bed and said: "Don't 
worry about your health; we have come to take care of you; you 
still have a great deal to do in this world." Then she disappeared, 
and it seemed to me that my brain was electrified, as though by the 
shock of contact with a battery. But instead of being painful, this 
sensation was delicious. The current descended into my lungs and 
chest, where I felt it very strongly. It spread, thence, to the ex- 
tremities, where it caused an agreeable warmth. I awakened almost 
at once, and felt very well. Since then I have never had any at- 
tack of this illness. The phantom of my sister was indistinct, but 
her voice was very clear. Nothing like that had ever happened to 
me before, and has not since. 

M. L. Holbrook. 

1 Proceedings S. P. R., VIII, 374. Human Personality, I, 370. An- 
nates des Sciences psychiques, 1899, p. 168. 



FOUR TO THIRTY YEARS AFTER DEATH 315 

One may easily imagine the doubts of an honest-minded 
seeker, when these experiences are put before him. Is it prob- 
able that the sister counted for nothing, as regards these 
sensations 1 Was not, in this case, a sort of magnetism trans- 
mitted from beyond the grave ? 

The following account was sent me from Valparaiso on 
May 9, 1899. The apparition was that of a person who had 
been dead for more than thirty years. 

I was extremely young at that time, and slept in a room with my 
mother. My bed was just in front of the door which gave on to a 
hallway. One evening I was sent to bed early, as usual. My mother 
went with me herself, with a candle which she put on the table, 
and left me, to rejoin the rest of the family; they used to stay up 
until ten or eleven. I was sitting on the bed, hesitating as to 
whether to slip under the sheet because it was growing cold, when, 
lifting my eyes by chance, I saw at the end of the hall — for the 
door was still open — an old woman coming toward me. I thought 
at first that it was my grandmother. But as I perceived details 
better I saw that it was not she, and that I did not know her. My 
astonishment changed to terror when the apparition entered the 
room. Although she stood fully in the light, and I could see her 
clearly, I perceived the furniture through her body. The phantom 
approached the foot of my bed, and then I could not help uttering 
piercing cries. Every one came up; I told what I had seen; they 
laughed in my face, and said that I had been dreaming. 

No one in my family had died at that time. Some years later 
I heard my grandmother relate that, about thirty years before, my 
uncle had bought this house from the heirs of an old woman to 
whom it had belonged, and that this old woman had died in the very 
room in which I had seen the apparition. I should like to point out 
the coincidence without drawing any conclusion. I shall add only 
one thing: that I had never had any visions or hallucinations before 
this adventure, and that I have never had any since then. 

L. JOURIDE. 

(Letter 666.) 



316 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

It is usual to reason like the parents of this child, who 
was accused of having seen nothing, of having dreamed. 
But he was not asleep. Was it an imaginary vision? He 
never had any other. In this way such occurrences — ^which 
are, as a matter of fact, inexplicable — have been dismissed. 
But should they not be examined a little more carefully? 
The child saw an old woman whom he mistook at first, in 
all calmness, for his grandmother. It was a phantom, 
through which he could see the furniture. On the other 
hand, an old woman had died in this room. It seems to me 
that instead of wiping the slate clean of the picture, and ef- 
facing everything because the occurrence puzzles us, it is 
more scientific to enlighten ourselves by investigating and 
discussing such problems. 

These diverse accounts, therefore, give us 'examples of ap- 
paritions observed ten, fifteen, twenty, and thirty years after 
death. Have we not already read (in Volum-e II, page 195) 
of the apparition of a Mrs. Carleton, who had been dead for 
fifty-six years? Mrs. Carleton, faithful to her promise to 
a woman friend, announced to this friend that she must pre- 
pare to die in twenty-four hours. The friend, convinced of 
the truth of the announcement, took a bath, that the family 
might be spared the trouble of washing her dead body. She 
died at the time specified. 

I have before me a great many bits of testimony as to mani- 
festations on the part of dead persons. They include warn- 
ings helpful to those who received them. Among the docu- 
ments is an account of a personal experience, which was sent 
me by Monsieur Oscar Belgeonne, secretary to the Anvers 
public prosecutor. The account bears the number 4421, in 
my records. The large number of documents contained in 
this volume obliges me to hold these bits of testimony in re- 
serve; they might be considered a supplement to those pub- 
lished here. 

While seeking to explain these experiences — to bring them 



FOUR TO THIRTY YEARS AFTER DEATH 317 

into line with the normal course of events — as forgotten rec- 
ollections, latent in the memory, we have seen that many 
call for quite another sort of explanation. I had kept one 
last one in reserve, an occurrence which took place sixty-eight 
years after dissolution. It concerns a man who died in 1824, 
and who appeared to his grandson in a dream, in 1892, to 
show him where his grave was. The analysis of the case fills 
a large number of pages, and leaves us with an impression 
that it is ''possible" to attribute the dream to a forgotten 
recollection. In any case, I should like to call investigators' 
attention to it — the attention of those with a love for analysis. 
(See ''Annales des Sciences psychiques," 1912, page 24.) 

Are the occurrences which have just been given (and pains- 
takingly analyzed) not at one in proving the immortality 
of the soul and the reality of communication between the 
dead and the living ? They take place at intervals, as we see, 
from the very moment of dissolution to days, weeks, months, 
and years afterward. 

There are other occurrences still farther removed from the 
hour of dissolution. These persist as legends, even for sev- 
eral centuries. In this way we reach haunted houses, step 
by step. 

We cannot here investigate this important field. But we 
cannot help taking still a little time to consider other proofs 
of survival and the Qontinuity of psychic life by turning to 
the teachings of s.piritism, which, so far, we have not been 
able to take up in this work. 

I had planned to put still another series of occurrences be- 
fore my readers, since they add special evidence. These 
were, on the one hand, apparitions, at death-beds, of those 
already dead. On the other hand, I had planned to show 
the actual reality of certain phantoms, and to give photo- 
graphs of them. But space is lacking for such an analysis. 

The conclusion that we may draw, therefore, from all the 
preceding pages, and from these ten chapters, is that if 



318 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

readers have not been convinced by the innumerable proofs 
offered, clear as the sun at noon, they will never be con- 
vinced. One might as well go into the fields and speak 
Hebrew or Sanskrit to the husbandmen. 

Perhaps future science will discover an explanation of the 
phenomena — one different from that which seems to us to-day 
the most direct and most natural. But the occurrences prove 
that there are such phenomena, and that they must no longer 
be disdained. 



XI 

MANIFESTATIONS OF THE DEAD IN SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS 

^ I, like every one else, laughed at spir- 
itism. But what I mistook for Voltaire's 
laugh was but an idiot's laugh. 

EUG. BONNEMEEE. 

SPIRITISM ^ is, in general, in bad repute, and deserves 
to be. Most of its disciples are unmethodical; they 
are often lacking in mental poise, are often dupes 
of illusions. They prefer a belief and a religion which merely 
console, to the impartial and critical investigation without 
which we can be sure of nothing. These are bad conditions 
fqr research; adequate safeguards are lacking. 

In Allan Kardec's time (in the course of the speech which 
I made at his grave on April 2, 1869) I believed it helpful 
and even necessary to proclaim, at this very grave, that 
'^spiritism is not a religion hut a science/' and to add that 
**we are now at the dawn of an undiscovered science." 
During the fifty years which followed the utterance of these 
words, the continued progress of our research has lent them 
greater and greater emphasis, confirmed them more and more 
fully. 

It is by the scientifi'c method alone that we may make 
progress in the search for truth. Religious belief must not 
take the place of impartial analysis. We must be constantly 
on our guard against illusions. 

Apart from deliberate deception, dishonest and inexcus- 

1 Monsieur Flammarion makes a distinction between "spiritualism'* 
and "spiritism." By "spiritualism" he means the general doctrine 
that departed spirits hold intercourse with mortals. By "spiritism" 
he means mediumistic research. — Translator. 

319 



320 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

able, there is autosuggestion leading to involuntary decep- 
tion. Believers allow themselves to be easily gulled. I have 
seen tables moved, quite patently, by the hands of so-called 
*' mediums,'^ without these "mediums" themselves suspect- 
ing it (at times), despite the clearest evidence. People too 
often accept the sayings of self-styled "spirits," without 
the slightest verification (controle). Moreover, they have 
ended by giving the name controle ("control") to the spirit 
itself — that is to say, to the unknown cause which is to be 
determined! This is a grammatical absurdity. 

And all this is usually done in good faith. 

There are also dishonest exploiters of credulity, who give 
"seances," promising apparitions and posthumous mani- 
festations to the simpletons who listen to them. Those who 
have been gulled then complain, laughably, of having been 
robbed! The human race, supposedly intelligent, is truly 
strange. One- must have a great deal of courage to work 
perseveringly, surrounded by these impostors; one must be 
sustained by the conviction that there are truths to be dis- 
covered. 

There is more than one danger in psychic research, and 
above all in spiritistic experiments. The chief danger is 
that we prove, indubitably, the reality of phenomena that 
are not merely inexplicable but are, at times, improbable 
and logically inadmissible. In this way we begin a danger- 
ous descent, for where does reality stop? There is a limit. 
Where is it? Men and women admit the most blatant ab- 
surdities in perfect good faith — women, above all, if we must 
speak the truth. Their credulity sometimes equals that of 
the most simple-minded bigots, who see the devil or Provi- 
dence in the least changes in temperature or the least impor- 
tant vicissitudes of existence. And with what ease certain 
' ' mediums ' ' play upon weak minds ! We even ask ourselves, 
often, whether these naive experimenters are dupes or ac- 
complices, and would not prefer to be deceived! We must 



SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS 321 

guess where this dangerous descent begins, and never draw 
near that point. 

It is difficult to obtain definite results from the encompass- 
ing psj^chic atmosphere. We get, at times, replies differing 
so greatly from the ideas of the persons present that the 
identity of the spirit that has been evoked would seem to be 
proved by the particular details which that spirit reveals. 
Then, when his name is asked, he cannot give it! Very 
often, too, he gives only one initial. Why? It is discon- 
certing. 

But those who reject everything connected with these ex- 
periments are wrong, without a doubt. We cannot say in 
such cases, '' Everything or nothing." There are occurrences 
worthy of the most serious attention. And these occurrences, 
as well as the diverse experiences given in the three volumes 
of this work, prove the materialistic theory to be erroneous. 

It appears to me that, in order to form an exact and rigor- 
ous estimate of the authenticity of proofs of identity in spirit- 
istic communications, we must be certain, above all, that no 
part of these communications proceeds from the subcon- 
scious minds of the experimenters and of those present. If 
any part can be attributed to them, this renders posthumous 
research illusory. 

If the influence of persons present at the seance can be 
eliminated, research becomes possible. But, again, we must 
not lose sight of our present knowledge of telepathy and 
forget that living people may transmit thought to a dis- 
tance. 

We see what care is necessary in the experimental study 
of spiritism. 

We have already, in this volume, seen examples of such 
manifestations — among others, in our preliminary investiga- 
tion, in the revelations of Monsieur Bossan's family, and in 
other cases in which the identity of the communicating 
spirit has seemed to us well established. 



322 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

They are not things of to-day, these investigations in which 
the identity of the communicating spirits is discussed; in- 
vestigations which lead to positive results. More than a 
quarter of a century ago Dr. Chazarain published, in '^Le 
Pr ogres spirite" (Lyons), the following account: 

Monsieur Honore Cliavee was a distinguished anthropologist and 
linguist, and author of a remarkable book, valued by all the savants 
of the world: "The Indo-European Lexicology." He was Hove- 
laeque's instructor in matters of linguistic erudition, and was one of 
the first lecturers who, with Flammarion, JacoUiot, Sarcey, Maria 
Deraisme, and others, used to speak in the lecture hall in the boule- 
vard des Capucines, at a time when Yves Henry, whose physician 
and friend I was, was in charge of it. This was in 1866. 

While attending his lectures I became acquainted with Mon- 
sieur Chavee, and entered into long-continued and friendly relations 
with him, which lasted until his death. 

Monsieur Chavee believed in successive existences, but did not 
admit that it is possible for the dead to communicate with us. To 
explain spirit communications and the part played by mediums, he 
had evolved a most original theory, similar to that based on mental 
suggestion and the exteriorization of thought. 

Madame Chavee had obtained, through Madame Rodiere as a 
medium (in 1862 she had served as Monsieur Flammarion^s 
medium), a communication which seems to me to express her hus- 
band's ideas before he returned to his life in space. 

Some days later I had gone to the home of one of my patients, 

Madame D , who was in bed. I entered her room, in which 

were two of her friends. Mademoiselle G and Madame V , 

her housekeeper; they were seated at a table placed close beside her 
bed. Both were mediums and were at that moment engaged in 
spiritistic experiments. At once I decided to profit by the oc- 
casion and to evoke Chavee. It was simple curiosity on my part; 
I had no other idea. 

The table having replied in the affirmative, Madame D , sitting 

up in bed, wrote down the letters given by the rapping. 

After the last letter, the table stopped; we asked whether the 
communication were ended. Since there was an affirmative reply, 



SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS 323 

Madame D wrote the spirit's name at the bottom of the sheet, 

spelling it in this way: Chavet. She believed this spelling to be 
correct. 

Scarcely h^d she finished when the table; on which our hands 
were still resting, began to move once more, and dictated these 
words : "That is not the way my name is spelled." 

When Madame D had had the pencil in her hand, I was about 

two meters away from her, on a level with her feet. Had I wished 
to do so, it would have been absolutely impossible for me to see 
what she had written. This was equally true of the other persons 
who had their hands on the table; they were, moreover, ignorant of 
the correct spelling. 

No one of us, therefore, could have known that the name had 
been wrongly spelled when the table began to move, calling atten- 
tion to the error. 

Consequently, the medium could not have been warned, by 
thought-vibration on the part of the persons present, of the mistake 
that had been made, and could not have controlled the table. 

I must inform you that the great linguist Honore Chavee could 
not bear, when he was alive, to have his name incorrectly written 
or his first name altered. His widow, to whom I showed the com- 
munication in question and the subsequent remark which the writer 
of it had dictated, cried at once: "Ah, that protest was just like 
him! Just think: when one of his compatriots and friends [Mon- 
sieur Chavee was a native of Namur] spoke of his books most 
eulogistically in a speech he made in Brussels, the newspapers of 
that city printed a report of the speech, giving his first name as 
Henri. He was so annoyed by this error that he had scarcely 
finished reading the account in the Belgian newspaper when he sent 
a telegram protesting against the unintentional substitution; he 
wasn't willing to wait until evening to send a letter." 

This furnished still another proof of the spirit's identity. It 
was because of the persistence, beyond the grave, of this original 
side of his character that he wished to call attention to the mistake 
that had been made. For this reason we have here, more or less 
by chance, an extremely clear proof of identity; its value is un- 
questionable. But I am inclined to believe that, while faithful 
to this peculiarity which made him, when alive, unable to bear any 



324 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

confusion of his name with any similar name whatsoever, even for 
a moment, he also availed himself, eagerly and joyfully, of an oc- 
casion to give us a rare proof of the identity of a spirit. 

Dr. Chazarain. 

The best proof that these phenomena are not alv^^ays caused 
by autosuggestion is the fact that they often occur vrithout our 
willing it. For example, how many times do we not, at 
table-rapping seances, demand vainly that an important 
message be continued! All those present v^sh ardently for 
a continuation, and despite all their waiting (it sometimes 
lasts a very long while) nothing happens. An exterior will 
dominates us, or, at least, dominates our own conscious will. 
The beginning of a sentence is dictated, and we think we can 
guess the end of it; but not at all: it ends in another wat^. 
A word is begun: we believe we foresee what the last let- 
ters will be; but it is another word which is dictated. On 
a particular day we are in an especially receptive mood as 
regards communications ; we wait for half an hour, an hour, 
two hours, without obtaining any results. On another day 
there are rappings, cracking noises; the table moves at 
once. There is here, plainly, a cause other than our con- 
sciousness. 

All of us live, without knowing it, in a psychic environ- 
ment we do not understand. The atmosphere contains not 
only chemical elements — oxygen, nitrogen, carbonic-acid gas, 
watery vapor, et cetera — but also psychic elements. Every- 
where there are souls. There is a constant mingling of 
animism and spiritism in the experiments of which we are 
speaking ; it is extremely difficult to separate them, to isolate 
them. Let us try to do this here, however. 

Among the experiments which would lead us to believe in 
communication with spirits, I should like particularly to call 
my readers' attention to the following ones, because these 
were made during the very first years of modern spiritism, 



SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS 825 

wliich had its inception in 1855. "We are concerned here with 
unquestionable testimony: that of Judge Edmonds, who ob- 
served the phenomena in question in his own family, in the 
case of his daughter Laura. 

Judge Edmonds was not a negligible witness. He en- 
joyed a considerable renown in the United States by reason 
of the exalted powers with which he was invested, at first as 
President of the Senate, then as a member of the New York 
High Court of Appeal. When his attention was drawn to 
spiritism he despised it with all the skepticism of a magistrate 
accustomed to dealing with uncertain human testimony. But 
after a conscientious inquiry he stated that he believed not 
merely that such occurrences took place, but also in the 
validity of the theory of spirits as an explanation. 

The amazement and indignation of the best American so- 
ciety were so great that Judge Edmonds was forced to give 
up his work as a magistrate and tender his resignation. He 
sacrificed, unhesitatingly, his own personal interests to what 
he considered to be the truth. He showed in this a rare 
courage which we should do well to admire; it lent weight 
to the affirmations of this early witness. 

His daughter Laura had received a careful education. 
She was a fervent Catholic. Her spiritual adviser ordered 
her to renounce mediumistic research; she did this, and 
refused to be present at seances, though the persons about 
her often held them. 

But the dwelling in which she Hved eventually became 
a sort of haunted house. Half a year had gone by in 
this way ; she constantly heard strange sounds and witnessed 
phenomena no less strange occurring without apparent human 
intervention; phenomena which, nevertheless, seemed to be 
guided by some intelligent entity. Impelled by curiosity, 
she began, once more, to go to seances. Soon she was con- 
vinced of the presence of an intelligent force, without know- 
ing what this force could be. She began to speak various 



326 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

languages, though she knew besides her mother tongue only 
French, which she had learned at school. Her father stateri 
that during this first year, in various circumstances, she 
spoke nine or ten languages, sometimes within an hour, with 
perfect ease and fluency. 

But let us listen to the judge himself: 

With her as an intermediary, people who were perfect strangers 
to ns could speak to their dead friends in their own languages. 
The following occurrence, among others, took place: 

One evening I had a visit from a stranger, a Greek named 
Evangelides ; it was not long before he was speaking to Laura in his 
own tongue. In the course of the conversation he seemed greatly 
affected, and even shed tears. Six or seven people were present, 
and one of them asked the reason for his emotion. The Greek 
avoided a direct reply, saying that it was a question of family 
matters. 

On the next day he renewed his conversation with Laura, and 
since there were no strangers in my home this time, he gave us the 
desired explanation. The invisible personality with whom he was 
speaking, with Laura as an intermediary, said that he was an in- 
timate friend, who had died in Greece: the brother of the Greek 
patriot Marco Bozarris. This friend informed Evangelides of the 
death of his (Evangelides's) son, who had stayed in Greece and had 
been in excellent health when his father left for America. 

Ten days after his first visit Evangelides informed us that he 
had just received a letter telling him of the death of his son. This 
letter must have been on its way at the time of his first interview 
with Laura. 

I should like to know how I should regard this occurrence. It 
is impossible to deny it; it was too startlingly evident. I might just 
as well deny that the sun shines upon us. 

Nor could I consider it an illusion, for there was nothing to 
distinguish it from any other reality which one grows aware of at 
any time in one's life. 

All this took place in the presence of from eight to ten persons, 
all of them educated, intelligent, logical, and as capable as any one 
of distinguishing an illusion from a real occurrence. 



SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS 327 

It would be vain to contend that it was the reflection of our own 
thoughts. We had never seen this man; he had been introduced 
to us by a friend on that very evening. Moreover, even supposing 
that our minds could have transmitted to him the idea that his son 
was dead, how could our thoughts have made Laura understand and 
speak Greek, a language which she had never heard? 

J. W. Edmonds. 

In giving this account Aksakof/ too, asks himself how it 
should be interpreted. If there ever was a case, he remarks, 
in which we might cite clairvoyance, this would be the one. 
But such an explanation could not apply, here. Laura saw 
Evangelides for the first time in her life. She knew abso- 
lutely nothing of his family, which was living in Greece, 
and still less of his deceased friend, Bozarris's brother. 
Where, then, can we discover the ''intense interest" the 
''powerful motive," capable of rendering the medium clair- 
voyant, by which Hartmann claims to explain everything? 
And however perfect this young girl's clairvoyance might 
have "been, how could it have given her the ability to speak 
Greek? Nor would it be logical to attribute to one source 
the gift of speaking Greek, and to another source the revela- 
tion of the child's death. Plainly, the two manifestations 
had one and the same cause. 

There is, in this case, a psychic element still to be isolated. 

Here is a similar story, also related by Judge Edmonds: 

One day, an unknown entity caused my wife to speak the purest 
Scotch dialect. This entity had taken the name of a woman from 
Paisley, Scotland, who informed us of her death; she said that she 
had died in that town some days earlier. We learned that she was 
the grandmother of one of the members of our circle who had come 
to America about a year before. Three or four days afterward the 
same individuality manifested itself, using as a medium Miss Scon- 
gall, a young person from Roekfort, Illinois, who knows no Scotch 

1 Animisme et Spiritisme, p. 419. 



328 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

at all. She announced her death through this young woman as 
well, speaking her usual dialect and giving various details as to the 
house in which she was living: the garden, the trees, etc. Miss 
Scongall had not been present at the first manifestation of this 
woman, and knew nothing about it. A young man who had a per- 
sonal interest in the communication, asked various questions, that 
he might verify the identity of the entity manifesting itself. He 
sought information concerning certain people, — among others, those 
whom he had known in Scotland, — and got replies that were satis- 
factory in every respect. The same spirit manifested itself at sev- 
eral consecutive seances, and gave undeniable proofs of its iden- 
tity. 

The young man's conviction was so absolute that he wrote at 
once to his friends in Scotland and informed them of his grand- 
mother's death, taking care to indicate the source of his informa- 
tion. The letters which he afterward received confirmed the news 
fully. 1 

We have, therefore, in the foregoing, two similar occur- 
rences : the death of a person completely unknov^n to the 
mediums, announced in a language with which the mediums 
were unacquainted, but which was spoken by the deceased 
person. These phenomena occurred during the period of 
the first experiments of modern spiritism. 

We might give a large number of like cases in which the 
messages announcing the deaths of certain persons also re- 
vealed various details as to the deceased persons' private 
affairs, details which were entirely unknown to the others 
present. "Light" (Letter 1885, page 315) gave among other 
occurrences the following most remarkable one : 

Dr. Davey, who was living near Bristol, had a son — also a 
physician — ^residing in a foreign country. The son, who wished to 
return, left for England on an English vessel, bound for London. 
Instead of paying for his passage he offered his services as ship's 
doctor; but he died in the course of the voyage. When the ship 

1 Edmonds, Letters on Spiritualism (New York, 1860), pp. 118-120. 



SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS 329 

reached London the captain informed the father of this, and gave 
him the sum of twenty-two pounds sterling which he said he had 
found on the deceased man. He also gave him an excerpt from the 
ship's log-book, in which all these details were set down. Dr. 
Davey was touched by the captain's acts and gave him, as a remem- 
brance, a gold pencil-holder. 

Some months afterward the doctor and his wife were at a spirit- 
istic seance in London. Several boisterous manifestations took 
place, such as the moving of furniture, rappings, et cetera. The 
medium, who was a woman, explained these phenomena as mean- 
ing that the spirits had a communication to make to one of the 
persons present. We wished to know which one it was. Then a 
large table, which no one was touching, and which was at the other 
end of the room, began to slide along and stopped very near Dr. 
Davey. We asked who was manifesting himself. The name spelled 
out was that of Dr. Davey's dead son. He declared, to every one's 
horror, that he had been poisoned! 

The doctor, wishing to make sure of this person's identity, asked 
for a proof. Then the occult speaker told him of his gift to the 
captain, a thing which no one of the persons present could have 
known about. The doctor asked whether the poison had been ad- 
ministered intentionally or by accident. The reply was, '^Both 
things are possible." It was stated, furthermore, that the sum of 
money left by the deceased was seventy and not twenty-two pounds 
sterling. Various other details were also given. 

After receiving these communications, Dr. Davey had the ship- 
owner give him a copy of the log-book; it did not agTee with the 
excerpt which the captain had put into his hands. 

In October, 1884, just before publishing this account, we wrote 
to Dr. Davey. Here is part of his reply: 

"After my son's death (1863) I had occasion to take up spirit- 
ism. I learned, one day, at a seance held in London at which my 
son manifested himself, that the details as to his death, given by 
the captain, were not authentic. I found out that his death was 
due to the imprudence of a steward who had put extract of bitter 
almonds into his castor-oil instead of mint, as my son had requested. 
I knew nothing, beforehand, about all the pecuniary matters to 
which he alluded. Among the effects which were given me after my 



330 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

son's death were only twenty-two pounds sterling and several cop- 
per coins, but I have every reason to believe that at the moment 
of his death he had nearly seventy pounds sterling in his possession." 

We are seeking to arrive at certainty. But in what 
science do v^e attain it, absolutely ? Most of the time v^e at- 
tain only a high degree of probability, generally speaking, as 
an equivalent for certainty. This is true, above all, in 
ethical questions. 

The follow^ing is a remarkable case, vouched for by ab- 
solutely trustv^orthy witnesses. 

Dr. Vincent Gubernari, who had made his home on the 
pretty Arcetri Hill near Florence (all Galileo's admirers 
know of it), had been an orphan from his earliest years and 
had been brought up tenderly by his aunt, who had become 
a second mother to him. 

He was a convinced materialist, and was, above all, com- 
pletely skeptical where spiritism was concerned. He was 
nevertheless impressed by the fact that several of his friends, 
who were learned and well balanced, were taking certain 
experiments seriously. Desirous of learning the truth with 
his own eyes, he expressed a desire to try a seance in his 
home. 

Favored by fortune, he had married Signora Isabella Ser- 
gardi, a member of a patrician family in Siena, who had 
brought him a large dowry. The husband and wife had 
agreed that, in case either should die, the possessions of the 
deceased one should go to the other. Signora Isabella had 
already made her will with this provision, thinking that her 
husband had done likewise. 

The doctor made an agreement with his spiritistic friends 
that he would be present at certain seances, and would see 
what happened. Let us listen to the story ^ : 

1 Bozzano, Luce e Ortibra, Dec. 1919. 



SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS 331 

So they held some seances. On the occasion of the second one, 
on October 29, 1874, the persons of the group had scarcely placed 
their hands on the table when it was violently shaken. The doctor 
demanded the disturber's name. 

"Tua zia Rosa [Your Aunt Eosa]," was the answer. 

Surprised, the doctor replied: 

"Well, if you 're really my good Aunt Rosa, help me in my pro- 
fession and aid me to make money." 

"I did not come for that. I came to advise you to change your 
way of life, and to think of your wife." 

"Of my wife ? I 've already thought of her," the doctor answered 
boldly. "So much so that each of us has made a will in the other's 
favor." 

"That is a lie," said the spirit, shaking the table violently. "She 
has left everything to you, but you have left her nothing." 

It was then that Signora Gubernari, who was present at the 
seance, entered into the conversation. She declared that the spirit 
was mistaken and that her husband could prove it by showing his 
will to the friends then present. 

Upon this interruption on the part of his wife, Dr. Gubernari, 
feeling himself compromised, answered that he was a conscientious 
man, but that he would show the will to no one. 

Then the spirit, shaking the table still more violently, added: 

"I tell you again that you are an impostor! Change your will, 
and change your life, too! You have no time to lose, for before 
many days have passed you will be in the spirit world." 

This revelation was like a thunderbolt to the doctor. He was 
overwhelmed by it, and cried, in a rage : 

"Die before my wife ? It 's impossible. I 'm younger than she. 
To the devil with that table !" 

The seance ended at this point. 

The next day Colonel Maurizio, a friend of the doctor, saw that 
he was greatly agitated, and spoke to him of the deception often 
practised at spiritistic meetings, proposing that he verify the state- 
ments at another seance at the home of Countess Passerini. This 
seemed to calm the doctor, and he awaited impatiently the upshot 
of the new experiment. 



332 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

"There was no deception," the spirit stated at this new seance, 
"and what was said was the absolute truth." 

"Therefore," they asked, "Dr. Gubernari must soon die?" 
"Without any doubt, and before the end of the year." 
That they might not increase the doctor's worry, they told him 
that there had been deception in this case also, and that he would 
be wrong to bother himself about it. This statement calmed his 
distress to such an extent that he found himself unable to under- 
stand the anguish which the prediction of his imminent death had 
caused him. 

Nevertheless during the night of November 12th, he came down 
with a raging fever. The physicians stated that his illness was 
not serious, yet the patient suffered terribly. 

His friends went to Countess Passerini's home, for a new seance. 

A spirit manifested itself, and made this reply to the questions 

asked: "I understand nothing about medicine, but to do you a 

favor I can go and look for a spirit who followed that profession 

during his life on earth. Wait a minute." 

A silence. After some moments the table moved once more : 
"I have found the doctor; he is here; question him." 
"What illness is Gubernari suifering from?" 
"From a fatal disease. He will soon be one of us." 
"Is his illness merely physical, or is it mental as well?" 
"Both physical and mental." 
"Can you tell us who you are?" 

"My name is not unknown to you : Dr. Panattoni." ^ 
Some days later Signore Gubernari's colleagues, called into con- 
sultation, diagnosed his malady as inflammation of the bladder, and 
he succumbed on December 30, 1874. 

This former skeptic, on his death-bed, stated that he saw, near 
him. Dr. Panattoni, who did not desert him for an instant, and also 
his mother and his Aunt Rosa, who tried to console him, and ex- 
horted him not to regret leaving this earthly life. And he added: 
"What I say is the absolute truth ; I feel it 's the end, for me, and 
under such circumstances people don't lie." 

1 Dr. Panattoni was, when he was alive, a physician in Florence. 



SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS S33 

This case seemed to me a most interesting one to give 
here. All conceivable scientific explanations are inadequate 
to explain it : the hypotheses that Signora Gubernari 's. doubt 
was transmitted, that the doctor had an uneasy conscience, 
that there was telepathy, and so on. As for the first hy- 
pothesis, the doctor 's wife showed that she had no doubt of his 
sincerity. As for the second, Signore Gubernari felt, as- 
suredly, no remorse, and was astounded by his aunt's inter- 
vention. Was it a case of clairvoyance on the part of the 
medium, who might have read his thoughts? But the whole 
thing was absolutely unforeseen. And who knew of this 
*'Aunt Rosa," long since dead? That it was telepathy would 
seem equally out of the question. 

The spiritistic theory must be taken into consideration, 
like all the other theories, and is no less "scientific." Let 
us repeat that when Newton discovered the laws of gravi- 
tation he summarized his thought in these words: ''Things 
behave as if the stars attracted each other by a force pro- 
portional to the product of their masses and inversely propor- 
tional to the square of their distance apart." Let us state, 
here, with equal simplicity: "Things behave, in the story 
we have just related, as if the doctor's aunt had really ap- 
peared to reproach him as he deserved, and to announce his 
death. ' ' And this explanation is the most satisfactory of all ; 
let us admit this without any prejudice and say, with 
Newton, ^^ Hypotheses non fingo! I put forward no hy- 
pothesis, I merely state facts ! " 

Myers gave, as particularly conclusive evidence of sur- 
vival after death, an experiment recorded by the English 
Psychical Society (VIII, page 428). This was the case of 
Mrs. Finney's brother, who, some months before his death, 
made certain marks on a brick and, breaking it in two, gave 
half of it to his sister. He promised to tell her after his 
death, if he could, the spot where he intended to hide the 



334 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

other half, as well as the contents of a sealed letter con- 
cealed in the same place. After her brother's death Mrs. 
Finney received, by means of a table, the promised com- 
munication.^ 

We may think that Myers had sufficient reasons for con- 
sidering this case conclusive, for his discussion of motor 
automatism shows that he had a tendency to dismiss the 
spiritistic explanation. He had written previously ^ : 

There is no reason to attribute the movements of a table to my 
deceased grandfather's intervention, any more than to my own in- 
fluence, for though we do not see how I could have caused these 
movements, we see no better how my grandfather could have done 
so. By my way of thinking, the most plausible explanation is 
that these replies were dictated not by the conscious mind, but by 
that deep and hidden region where fragmentary or incoherent 
dreams originate. 

It was, assuredly, the precise realization of the dead man's 
promise which made Myers certain of the reality of this 
posthumous manifestation. He himself tried an experiment 
conducted on the assumption that he was already dead. It 
did not succeed.^ 

These manifestations from beyond the grave, through me- 
diums, are the subject of much debate, and rightly so, for 
it is of the highest importance that their authenticity be 
proved. A remarkable example was also afforded by the 
case of Minot Savage. His dead son asked him, in the 
course of one of Mrs. Piper's seances, to go to one of his (the 
son's) former dwelling-places, which the father did not 
know of, to look for certain papers hidden in a drawer, and 
to burn them. The father understood the reason for this. 
The extreme partizans of telepathy think that the son's sub- 

1 Human Personality, p. 346, 

2 Idem, ip. SIS. 

3 Oliver Lodge, The Survival of Mom. Official report, Dec. 13, 1904. 



SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS 335 

conscious mind might have acted, when he was alive, upon 
the father's mind, and have revealed the secret papers to 
him, and that Mrs. Piper might have read the father's sub- 
conscious mind. According to his extremely informative 
work on telepathy, Monsieur Warcollier considers this hy- 
pothesis preferable to that of influence on the part of the dead 
son.^ It appears to me, however, the least probable expla- 
nation. 

We were, assuredly, surprised, not many pages back, to 
read of a spirit going in search of a physician in the other 
world; but such quests are not infrequent in these strange 
experiments. 

Proofs of identity are the touchstone of this research. 
They are as rare as they are difficult to obtain. Satisfaetory, 
conclusive, unquestionable proofs are rarely met with. The 
following proofs were of a sort absolutely unlooked for. 
They were based on mutually consistent attestations 
published by the English Society for Psychical Research. 
The account was given, recently, by the review ''Psychica," 
and was published by Myers (''Human Personality," Volume 
II, page 473), by Bozzano ("Les Phenomenes de hantise." 
page 129), and by other competent writers. The story was 
told by an esteemed observer, Mr. Hodgson, and deserves to 
be classified with the preceding ones. Let us listen to this 
curious narration: 

On Saturday evening, June 14, 1890, Sofia- Alida Kamp, a widow 
living in Wymberg (Wolf Street), her daughter, Alida Sofia, and 
Miss Catherine Mahoney, who was living in the same house, went 
to bed about eleven o'clock, and from that moment to dawn were 
not able to sleep because of the strange noises which they heard. 
They could not discover what caused them, though they searched 
the farthest corners of the house. 

The next morning they told me of these sounds. They had heard 
stools being rolled heavily in their rooms, noises of empty boxes 

1 R. Warcollier, La Telepathie, p. 335. 



336 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

being dragged across the attic, though it contained nothing by which 
these sounds might have been explained. Upon their request I con- 
sented to go and spend the night in their house (Sunday, June 15th). 

The narrator then goes on to say that, before he went to bed, 
lie suddenly thought of improvising a " mediumistic seance" 
in his room, and of inviting the ladies in question to take 
part in it. When they were seated about the table the name 
"Lewis" was dictated, by rappings, and shortly afterward 
the words: "It is a warning." The seance then ended. 
Here is the rest of the story : 

After I had gone to bed, I kept my candle lighted until after 
midnight, that I might finish a novel in which I was interested. 
Then I fell asleep. 

About two o'clock in the morning I was awakened by the noise 
of a chair being dragged heavily about in the room in which I was 
sleeping. This noise was succeeded by another: that of a heavy 
body being pulled about the attic floor. There was such an uproar 
that it would have awakened any one. And, as a matter of fact, I 
heard Miss Kamp's voice asking me, from her room, what this noise 
could be. 

I heard a box of matches fall down very near me. 

I got up, out of curiosity, and groped for this box, which I had 
put on the candlestick, but was not able to find it. I had a second 
box of matches and was therefore able to light the candle. Then I 
saw that the other box was on the floor, two feet away from the 
candlestick. 

Now begins the strangest part of this business. Up to that time 
not one of us had been able to guess for what motives an individ- 
ual named Lewis should disturb our sleep. We were all the more 
perplexed from the fact that none of us had ever had anything to 
do with people of this name. On Monday morning, June 16th, I 
opened the newspaper I habitually read, — "The Cape Times," — and 
among other news I read that on the evening of the fourteenth, at 
fortj^-nve minutes past eight, an unknown man had been killed by 
a moving train, near Woodstock. It did not occur to any of us 
that the mysterious noises might be attributed to this accident. 



SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS 337 

The Tuesday edition of this same newspaper printed the records 
of the inquest, from which it appeared that the victim was unknown. 
That evening I was seated in the Kamps' shop, when a negress came 
in. In the course of her conversation with Mrs. Kamp, she asked: 
"Have you heard about the man who was killed by a train on Sat- 
urday evening?" — "Yes," Mrs, Kamp answered, "but they don't 
know who he is." 

"I knew him," the negress replied. "He lived in my sister's 
home, and his name was Jim Lewis." When we heard this name 
we all thought that we had the key to the mystery. We thought so 
for the following simple reasons: 

(1) A man had been killed at forty-five minutes past eight on 
the evening of June 14th. 

(2) Mrs. Kamp had closed her shop at ten o'clock; she had gone 
to bed at eleven o'clock, and at that moment the noises had begun. 

(3) None of us knew of the accident until we learned of it 
through the newspapers — that is to say, on the morning of the six- 
teenth. 

(4) Before the night of the fourteenth no nocturnal noises had 
ever been heard in Mrs. Kamp's house. 

(5) The disturbing spirit, on the night of the fifteenth, had given 
the name "Lewis." 

Unquestionably, these arguments were enough to convince us. 
Out of curiosity, we held still another seance that evening. The 
name "Lewis" was again dictated, together with this message, "I 
cannot find peace until they succeed in identifying my body." He 
answered our repeated questions by declaring that he was "the 
spirit of the man who was killed by the moving train." He said 
that his name was Lewis. 

This account was supplemented by the follov^ing attesta- 
tion: 

All of us declare that this account is in perfect conformity with 
the truth. — Frederick Hodgson, Sophia Alida Kamp, Alida 
Sophia Kamp, Kate Mahoney, C. F. Kamp, J. S. Kamp. 

It appears to me that this spontaneous occurrence leaves 
nothing to be desired as a proof of identity. To attribute 



338 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

it, in all its details, to unknown human faculties, would 
seem to me absolutely out of the question. 

Without prolonging endlessly our discussion of this sub- 
ject (a subject which has already taken up six hundred 
pages of "Les Forces naturelles inconnues") I shall end 
this chapter concerning manifestations during the course 
of spiritistic seances and proofs cf identity, with the fol- 
lowing story, which is astounding, unbelievable, and yet 
real. The observer himself told it: 

How many of the four of us who were together that evening are 
still of this world? Life has separated us. The war came. On 
two occasions I had news of the three others; one died at Sedul- 
Bahr, when he was leading his company of Senegalese in an attack 
on the Turkish positions. If one of my other two friends should 
happen to see these lines, this reminiscence will certainly awaken a 
deep emotion in his breast, for there are things which one never 
forgets, and the message which we received on that day is one of 
them. 

As for me, my agitation was the beginning of a salutary moral 
evolution, which Brought me faith, calmness, and serenity. 

It was in 1904, in Toulon, when the entrance examinations for 
the Military School were being held. We had returned from the 
colonies, and had gone to the barracks of the Fourth Regiment of 
Marines. In this way we found one another again — three from 
Madagascar and one from Africa. We lived on the same floor, in 
the rue de la R^publique. In the evenings we used to gather in 
the room of one of us, to work or to talk and drink tea. 

A friend lived in the same house in which we were. One fine 
evening we went into his room, for he had invited us to a table- 
turning seance. The evening party was a gay one, and we received 
a multitude of revelations as to the contents of our pocket-books, 
the number of buttons which each of us had on his trousers, and the 
numbers on our watch-cases. One of us, who had mislaid his watch, 
found it again, thanks to the numbers stamped on the gold watch- 
case. 

Every evening there arose in our conversations the question 



SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS 339 

whether in what we had seen, proved, experimented with, there was 
something supernormal: the manifestation of an intelligent entity, 
apart from that which we agreed to call the soul of each of the 
persons taking part. Can the mingling of fluids emanating from 
the organisms of several human beings produce another intelligent 
soul, which has access to our inmost consciousness, can read numbers 
in our pockets, and count pieces of money in our purses, the con- 
tents of which we do not know? Or is all that the marvelous feat 
of a clever conjurer or a potent trickster? — a trick which may de- 
prive a whole gathering of the power of reasoning, of memory, and 
of feeling? Can the trickster draw from every one present every- 
thing he wishes to know, and, waking his subjects once more, re- 
store each person's self-control, and astonish us with the result of 
his robbery of our pockets and our thoughts? 

Or can there be really a manifestation on the part of a disem- 
bodied soul and for that reason could we find in life, once again, 
an object, an ideal, a driving force? 

Such were the deep thoughts which glowed in our minds and lifted 
us to dizzy heights! 

How could we know? 

Why not ask this unknown thing to answer the question which 
was burning on our lips: ^Who are you? Where did you come 
from?" 

One evening we gathered in my room, about a small, round, three- 
legged table. We had placed this table in the very center of the 
room, with only our four chairs around it ; all the other furniture 
had been moved away. We examined everything, so that we could 
see that there could be no tricks, and that no strings were tied to 
anything. On the mantelpiece were two lighted lamps. 

We promised one another that we would do nothing either to help 
or to hinder anything that might take place, and sat down, with 
our hands flat on the table, forming a continuous chain with our 
fingers. 

Ten minutes passed without anything happening. We were 
serious, and in a rather painful state, perhaps (at least I was), but 
were not in the least nervous. I was praying, under my breath: 
"If there is really something beyond terrestrial life, may a gleam 
come to us from this unknown source of light." 



340 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Suddenly, within the table — in the wood of the table, seemingly — 
a sharp blow was struck. We looked at one another. This crack- 
ing noise seemed to me so characteristic, of such a special kind, 
that the idea that it might have been caused by one of my three 
friends did not occur to me, and I felt a shiver run through me from 
head to foot. 

Soon another sharp blow was struck; the table rose on two of its 
legs and struck three very distinct blows. I had the feeling that 
the cracking noise could not have been caused by any of us, but that 
the movement of the table, in striking the floor with one of its legs, 
might have been so caused, and without a doubt we all had the same 
thought: that perhaps without wishing to, one or the other of us, 
bearing down too hard, had pulled the table toward him. 

We confided these thoughts to one another, honestly, and then 
decided to make use of the alphabet, and agreed that the various 
letters should be designated by the number of blows. After stipu- 
lating, besides this, that one blow should mean "no" and two blows 
should mean "yes," we sat down again. 

It was not long before the table tilted again. I asked: 

"Is this table being moved?" 

"Yes." 

"May I know who is moving itf" 

"Spirit." 

"Spirit? The spirit of whom?— of one of us?'^ 

"No." 

"Have you a name?" 

"Yes; Baudelaire." 

The blows had been struck distinctly, and the letters designated 
without any mistake. One of the party, even if we had not been 
watching him, could not have made the table rap with such precision. 
In a painful state, we looked at one another, without daring to say 
anything. The table answered some questions as to the existence of 
the soul after death, and as to certain great moral and religious 
subjects; it stated the dominant defect of each one of us, and ad- 
vised: "Read Tleurs du Mai [Flowers of Evil].'" 

All this time the rappings had been sharp. We were growing 
accustomed to this long and difficult mode of conversation. At 
times we would guess a word before it was finished, would utter it, 



SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS 341 

and the table would rap out, more sharply, "Yes." We sometimes 
guessed the wrong word, and the quick, jerky blows seemed to ex- 
press the impatience of the spirit who was speaking to us; they 
were somewhat like: "No, no! No, no! No, no!" 

After a silence the table said, of itself, "Jaequot doubts!" 

"Why, yes, I do doubt!" cried Jaequot, getting: up. "Haven't 
all of you doubts?" 

No one answered, and the table rapped out, ^^Kammaral" 

Only three of us had our hands on the table; Jaequot had g^one 
over to the mantelpiece and had put his elbows on it. These seven 
letters meant nothing to us three. I asked that they be repeated, 
and said to Jaequot : "Get a pencil and take this down ; it 's grow- 
ing complicated." 

And the table said once more, "Kammara!" 

But then something happened which froze us with terror and 
made us rise suddenly and leave the table. Scarcely had the last 
letter of the word been rapped out when Jaequot, who had written 
it down, advanced toward the table. I had never seen him so pale ; 
his voice was raucous, though he had had a mocking, almost joking 
air before. He said, "Lieutenant, when you ordered me to stay, did 
you know of the danger?" — "Yes!" — "But, then, why did you tell 
Ravan to lead the men? It was my turn." — "Because I was fond 
of you." 

We three from Madagascar witnessed this scene without under- 
standing it. We felt only that something fearful was happening 
before our eyes. Our comrade, who had been skeptical a short time 
before, was standing before the table, and speaking to it respect- 
fully, as he would have spoken to a real person, and the table, 
which we had left suddenly, was moving of itself, rapping replies 
which we spelled out, mentally, letter by letter. 

It was terrible ! 

The dialogue went on, and we learned in this way that Lieutenant 
Maucorge was speaking; he had been in command of the military 
post of Kammara, in western Africa, where he had under him the 
French non-commissioned officers Ravan and Jaequot, our friend. 
Since the lieutenant was fond of Jaequot, and knew that a reeon- 
noitering expedition, which was to be made, was dangerous, he had 
chosen Sergeant Ravan to accompany him, leaving Sergeant Jaequot 



342 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

at the army post. He went away and never came back. The 
whole of the reconnoitering party was massacred; the bodies of the 
two white men were not found. 

Before us, the lieutenant told his former comrade the story of 
the ambuscade in which he and Ravan were wounded. Both were 
roasted and eaten by their cannibal foes; the infantrymen were 
massacred, and no one ever knew what had happened. The guilty 
native chiefs would not be found, and this somber drama of the 
African brush was forgotten. The lieutenant gave our comrade 
the names of the traitorous and rebellious chiefs; he stated where 
his and Ravan's revolvers might be found, and Ravan's watch. 

On that evening in February, 1904, we lived through hours which 
we shall never forget. When he had told his story, this entity went 
away; Baudelaire returned to say that he was fond of Jacquot, that 
he would always come back when he called him, and that we, too, 
had in him a familiar spirit and a protector. Then we parted 
company. 

The examinations were held. Three out of the four of us en- 
tered Saint-Maixent that year. I, the fourth, went to Indo-China, 
where I served with the Native Guard. 

Some years later, in Saigon, I saw one of my three friends, and 
we talked of the past. I learned that, through information given 
by Lieutenant Jacquot to the Ministry of War, Lieutenant Mau- 
corge^s weapons and watch had been found, and Sergeant Ravan's 
weapons. They were discovered in the hands of the black chiefs 
who had planned and carried out the ambuscade in which a part of 
the Kammara garrison perished. 

I have never seen Jacquot since, but the message from his former 
commander, who was fond of him and wished to banish all doubt 
from his mind, gave him back, most certainly, his faith in the im- 
mortality of the soul. And it gave him, as it did me, the courage 
to live on, doing a little good, and waiting for the blessed hour 
when we, too, shall step over the threshold of this new life, which 
will be what we know how to make it. There is, in the spontaneous 
manifestation of Lieutenant Maueorge's soul, a fine example of 
communication with the dead, and a convincing proof of identity. 

It is as a proof of this sort that I am giving the story. I guar- 
antee its truth, so far as I can answer for my memory, and I assure 



SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS 343 

you that that past scene i^ always in my mind. When I recall it, 
I still feel a little of the intense agitation which it aroused in all 
four of us, who witnessed it. 

P. DE LA Fontaine. 

This fantastic story was published in the ''Revue spirite" 
of July, 1920. I thought at first that it must be taken 
only for what it was worth. I sought information as to 
the narrator, and when my first inquiry had virtually satis- 
fied me, I asked Monsieur Jean Myer, the editor of this 
review, for his personal opinion. He was the founder of the 
Metaphysical Institute, is an unbiased thinker, and — some- 
thing that does not lessen intellectual worth — is upright and 
a generous philanthropist. This was in February, 1921. 
His reply, dated February 18th, was as follows: ''I knew 
Monsieur de la Fontaine personally; he died eight days 
ago. You may consider his story authentic." 

It seems to me that all the objections that may be brought 
up on the score of forgotten recollections, and the subcon- 
scious mind — any objections whatsoever — could not disprove 
the identity of the spirit which manifested itself in this 
case. I could not say the same of the spirit of Baudelaire. 

As regards testimony concerning the identity of the spirits 
manifesting themselves, I should like to bring to the atten- 
tion of readers of psychic works the information given by 
Jules Baissac in my friend Eugene Nus's book ''A la re- 
cherche des destinees" (1890), page 223, and the testimony 
that may be read on page 128 of G. Bourniquel's book ''Les 
temoins posthumes" (1921). But, as a matter of fact, there 
is a whole library concerning these occurrences, infinite in 
their variety.^ 

This chapter, which began with clearly defined manifes- 
tations occurring during the first years of spiritism and 

1 Among the latest books to be published, Madame Lacombe's is 
noteworthy, MerveilleucB phenomenes de VAu-deld, (Lisbon, 1921). 



344 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

gave, as a final example, a very recent case, must enii 
here. It has given us clear proofs that in the course of cer- 
tain mediumistic experiments dead persons have made their 
presence known. I have, in both an unpublished and a 
printed form, ten, twenty times as much testimony. It is of 
the deepest interest, above all from the point of view of the 
psychic environment, about which we must learn, but there 
is no place for it in a single chapter. Baffling obscurities 
must be cleared up before we can eliminate entirely the 
influence of the subconscious mind. Spiritism either will or 
will not become scientific. It must be transformed, and the 
time for this has come. As we remarked in the first lines 
of this chapter, most of its adepts have, until now, been the 
dupes of senseless illusions. When one asks a student of 
these problems, who is convinced of the reality of psychic 
manifestations, the question: ^'Are you a spiritist?" it 
would be wise to come to an understanding. Certain lec- 
turers are of the opinion that spiritism is represented by 
incidents such as the following: 

Knock, knock, knock! 

"Dear spirit! Is that really you, Napoleon?" 

"Yes. What do you wish?" 

"It would be so good of you if you'd go and find the Virgin 
Mary for us, for we want to ask her for some information about the 
apparitions of Lourdes." 

"All right, my friends. Wait a minute." 

Knock, knock, knock! 

"Is this the Virgin Mary?" 

"No, she 's busy. But here 's Messalina." 

I know spiritists so credulous that they believe in com- 
munications of this sort ! 

If this is what is called being a spiritist, we can say that 
we are not spiritists. But metaphysical research is quite 
another thing. From this time on such credulity must cease. 



SPIRITISTIC EXPERIMENTS 345 

The pages already read are numerous and very closely 
packed. They contain a considerable number of documents: 
the basic material for the new science. I have already 
greatly overtaxed my readers' patience, and it is time to 
end this general exposition, that we may arrive at conclu- 
sions. 



XII 



CONCLUSIONS FROM THE THREE VOLUMES OF THIS WORK 

I say that the tomb, whicli closes on the 

dead. 
Opens the firmament, 
And that what, on earth, we call the 

end 
Is the commencement. 

Victor Hugo. 



I 



"^HE object of this work has been attained. The evi- 
dence embodied in it is based on accounts which I 
have been amassing for more than half a century; 
barely a tenth of them have been presented here. The writ- 
ing of the three volumes took no less than three years. 
The occurrences cited, the truth of which has been duly 
established, prove that there is no death ; that it is but evolu- 
tion; that human beings survive this supreme hour, which 
is by no means the last hour. Mors janua vitae — "Death is 
the portal of life." The body is but an organic garment 
of the spirit; it dies, it changes, it disintegrates: the spirit 
remains. The matter which constitutes the body of Man is 
a mere appearance, like all other matter. The universe is 
a dynamism. An intelligent force rules all. The soul can- 
not be destroyed. 

After the publication of Volume II of this work, a thinker 
wrote me : 

Will your third volume give us the same certainty with regard to 
the immortality of the soul which the first two volumes gave us con- 
cerning the real existence of the soul ? If it does not, there is noth- 
ing left for us but to die of despair, for we shall be forced to ad- 

346 



CONCLUSIONS 347 

mit that Chance created us, that there are no moral truths, nor any 
justice, and that no fertile harvest will spring from all the suffering 
sown along the road of life. A negative reply from you would 
mean the final annihilation of all that constitutes the nobility of 
mankind. 

(Letter 4743.) 

I hope that I have now definitely brought out the fact 
that my reply is in the affirmative, and that my readers have 
gained the satisfaction which they desire and deserve. 

Is this not, as a matter of fact, the time-honored wish of 
thinking beings, expressed in every epoch and in all tongues ? 
It is Nature's cry. Among the works of our con- 
temporaries, one of the beautiful poems of the Countess of 
Noailles, that passionate singer of Life and Love, ends with 
this sorrowful stanza: 

Never to see you again, radiance of the sky! 
Alas, I was not made to die! 

No, poets, your vibrant souls were not made to die; no 
soul was made to die, and the light of the heavens is not 
extinguished. 

Empirical science gives us this assurance, to-day. 

Readers who have had the time and the inclination to read 
the one thousand two hundred and sixty^five pages of the 
three volumes of this work must, like me, have reached the 
conviction that there is in a human being an element not 
yet understood in the recognized scientific theories: a think- 
ing soul, endowed with special faculties. And they must 
know, also, that this soul does not undergo dissolution, like 
the body; that it survives the body. It was our object to 
prove this survival by positive occurrences. That is the chief 
result of this long work. 

The conclusions arrived at in this book reach farther 
than those given previously in ''L'Inconnu," published in 



348 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

1900, and in "Les Forces naturelles inconnues," published 
in 1906. We have proceeded slowly, step by step, in this 
gradual elaboration. Our previous conclusions were : 

(1) The soul exists as a real entity, independent of the 
body. 

(2) It is endowed with faculties still unknown to science. 

(3) It may act at a distance, telepathically, without the in- 
termediary of the senses. 

(4) There exists in nature a psychic element, the character 
of which is still hidden from us. 

To-day we may add the following conclusion: 

(5) The soul survives the physical organism and may 
manifest itself after death. 

We have reached, experimentally, the conclusion that the 
reality of thought-transmission, at all distances, between the 
minds of the living, has been proved beyond question. And we 
decided that ''the existence of telepathy is as certain as the 
fact that Napoleon existed, that oxygen and Sirius exist." 
Well, it is just as true that there is this psychic transmission 
between the souls of the dead and those of the living. 

Phenomena the authenticity of which is unquestionable 
leave no doubt that at the moment of death the soul (what- 
ever its nature be) acts upon the minds of the living when 
it is kilometers — hundreds and thousands of kilometers^ — 
away from these minds; it causes people to hear rappings 
and varied noises, often extremely loud noises, and to see 
the image of the dying person, under aspects equally varied. 
These phenomena convince us, also, that the soul manifests 
itself after death; the inquiry which I began in 1899 and 
have since continued, that I might add to the numerous 
accounts which I had been receiving for many years and aid 
in the experimental study of manifestations of the dead — 
this inquiry has yielded, as we have seen, conclusive results. 

By reason of the phenomena which have been witnessed — 
consistent, numerous, and definite phenomena — it seems to 



CONCLUSIONS 349 

me that I am justified in putting forward the following, 
as statements resting upon unshakable foundations: 

(1) Human beings who have died — those we call the dead 
— still live on after the dissolution of the material organism, 

(2) They exist in the form of invisible, intangible sub- 
stances, which our eyes do not perceive, which our hands 
cannot touch, nor our senses grow aware of under normal 
and ordinary conditions. 

(3) In general, they do not manifest themselves. Their 
mode of existence is entirely different from ours. They act 
on our consciousness at times and, in certain circumstances, 
may prove their existence. 

(4) When they act upon our souls and, through these, 
upon our brains, we see them in perceptible forms, as we 
have known them, with their clothing, their bearing, their 
habitual movements, their individualities. It is our inner 
eye which sees them. One soul can perceive another soul. 

(5) These are not hallucinations, imaginary visions, but 
realities. Invisible beings become visible. 

(6) They may also manifest themselves in objective forms. 

(7) In a great many cases, apparitions of the dead do not 
appear intentionally. The dead person does not act on the 
spectator purposely. It would seem that he continues, 
vaguely, certain habits; that he wanders about the places 
where he has lived, or not far from his grave. But let us 
not forget that these are human conceptions on our part, 
and that with spirits distance does not count. Ether- waves 
emanate from the soul; these reach the percipient and are 
changed to images in his brain, which receives them and is 
attuned to them. 

(8) Apparitions and manifestations occur with relative 
frequency during the hours which follow immediately upon 
dissolution; their number diminishes as time passes, and 
grows smaller from day to day. 

(9) Souls which have left the body, long retain their ter- 



350 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

restrial mentality. In the case of Catholics, demands for 
prayers are often expressed. This is a fact which might 
well be analyzed from a psychological and transcendental 
point of view. 

These statements, induced from the entire body of scien- 
tific observations, hold good, in general, with regard to ap- 
paritions of the dead. There are cases not in accord with 
them ; there are variations and exceptions. But the principle 
which may be laid down, from this time on, is that we may 
be certain that there is an entity which persists after death, 
that there is a dynamism, thanks to which our personality 
continues its existence. 

We make these inductions from experiment and observa- 
tion, and with the absolute conviction that every impartial 
seeker, endowed with a spirit of analysis, who gives himself 
up to a serious investigation of this sort, will reach the same 
conclusions. 

Humanity has progressed since the time of Francis Bacon. 
That profound philosopher foresaw the gradually won vic- 
tory of scientific observation and experiment in every do- 
main of human research, with the exception, he said, of 
investigations as to the destiny of the soul, which belong in 
the domain of religious faith. He erred in making this 
exception. The positive method, the Baconian method, has 
pervaded such research as it has all others. Bacon made, in 
this case, the same error in judgment that Auguste Comte 
did when he declared that it would be impossible ever to 
discover the chemical composition of the stars. May the ex- 
perience of these great minds guide us ! 

There is no break between this life and the next. There 
is continuity. Our personalities survive, though there is a 
considerable difference between the two states of existence. 
Material possessions no longer exist; physical suffering and 
infirmities are done away with. In general, the dead person 
does not understand his new state. There is slumber, there 



CONCLUSIONS 351 

are dreams and inconsistencies. Sometimes there are added 
faculties. The marvelous metamorphoses of insects — the 
transformation of the larva into the chrysalis and into the 
butterfly — present a vague and loose analogy to the change 
to the after life. The psyche spreads its wings; there is a 
spiritual life in the ether. The faculties function through 
the immensity of space; the bodiless spirit is not confined 
to our space; it lives in the fourth dimension, in hyper- 
space.^ It can communicate with the living only with dif- 
ficulty. In order to do this, it must enter our sphere of 
activity, must penetrate our minds, must undergo materiali- 
zation, must express itself by mechanical means. The in- 
fluence of invisible entities on us may be more general than 
would appear, and may even pass unperceived by almost 
every one: we are too preoccupied with the business of liv- 
ing to notice it. 

Let us acknowledge that these posthumous manifestations 
are not in conformity with our usual terrestrial point of' 
view. They are far removed from our conception of what 
they should be. We have an entirely different world to in- 
vestigate: an unknown, unexplored, incomprehensible world. 
It is difficult, in the study of it, to eliminate our own earthly 
associations. 

These difficulties are a great stumbling-block; they oblige 
us to be extremely cautious in our interpretation. So many 
objections rise up before us ! It seems to us that our dearest 
friends should be at our beck and call, and should always 
manifest themselves. Beings from whom we expect testi- 
mony remain dumb. Most of the time the messages are 
vulgarly trivial, and teach us nothing about **the other 
world." The master minds — philosophers, savants, writers, 
artists — who in various lines of endeavor have contributed to 

1 Those wishing to study the fourth dimension and hyperspace may 
read, with profit, the astronomer Newcomb's dissertation; I published 
it in 1899, and included it in Reves etoiles, pp. 343-345. 



352 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

the progress of hmnanity, have not returned to enlighten 
us. These and a hundred other objections stand in the way 
of our honest desire to know the truth. Let us point them 
out without abandoning our investigation. They make us 
think, at first blush, that there is no greater equality among 
the dead than among the living. There is an infinite di- 
versity among souls, from the most exalted to the humblest. 
For the moment all that we can affirm is that the spirit does 
not die when the body dies, and that, in certain circum- 
stances, the soul may give proof of its survival. 

Side by side with the material world, there is a psychic 
world, the reality of which is as certain as that of the visible 
world. These two worlds interpenetrate. 

To gain as precise an idea as possible of the reality of the 
occurrences set forth in this work, it will be best for us to 
give, here, a sort of comparative recapitulation of these nu- 
merous and varied experiences. 

The most usual communications are those from relatives 
and friends. They are with us, or, rather, distance does 
not exist for them. Some unforeseen circumstance often 
suffices to reveal their presence. The dead show their sur- 
vival in the most varied ways. 

In the first place, they may appear to be flesh and blood. 
To recall the truth of this, readers need only open this vol- 
ume at pages 16, 26, 29, 32, 49, 54, 55, 64, 69, 70, 80, 91, 99, 
120, 127, 129, 133, 138, 141, 143, 146, 151, 152, 154, 156, 159, 
161, 172, 178, 183, 188, 191, 194, 202, 208, 212, 214, 216, 220, 
223, 225, 227, 229, 230, 231, 234, 236, 239, 240, 242, 246, 247, 
253, 254, 259, 265, 267, 268, 270, 275, 277, 279, 292, 303, 310, 
315. 

If curiosity impels you to re-read certain of these accounts, 
your conclusion will be the same in the case of each of them : 
that dead persons have been seen beyond a doubt, not in 
dreams, but in a state of mental alertness. This is a 



CONCLUSIONS 353 

fact; it is definite, positive; it demands an explanation. 
The dead manifest themselves by noises, movements, psy- 
chic phenomena which are usually incomprehensible (pages: 
10, 20, 22, 24, 29, 55, 56, 58, 98, etc.) 

They appear to us clothed either in the garments in which 
we knew them, or in those in which they were buried (52, 
134, 151, 179, 181, 191) ; or in forms more or less vague, 
though recognizable (page 16, etc.) These phantoms are 
sometimes opaque, like real bodies (pages 128, 152, 178, 
190) sometimes transparent, and furniture and walls can be 
seen through them (page 315). 

They may manifest themselves, for several years, to the 
same person (pages 291, 302-306). 

They may return to keep a promise (pages 10, 47, 49, 54, 
56, 58, 59, 61, 64.) 

They may come back because of personal affairs (pages 77, 
78, 79, 80, 83, 87, 91, 92, 94, 96, 98, 99, 103, 105, 245, etc.) 

They may reveal their death, when thought to be still 
alive (pages 22, 126, 128, 129, 134, 138, 141, 143, 154, 252, 
etc.) 

A murdered man may tell who the murderer was (page 
172, etc.) 

They may appear to be amusing themselves; their mani- 
festations may seem farcical (pages 24, 55, 59, etc.) 

They often ask for prayers (pages 87, 96, 119, 176, 199, 
201, 224, 243, 251, etc.) 

They may take gruesome revenges (pages 61, 101). 

They may manifest themselves through spiritism (pages 
34, 303, 322, 326, 328, 330, 334, 336, 338). 

They may transmit telepathic mental impressions to the 
living (pages 150, 308, etc.) 

They may appear to children (pages 30, 161, 183, 187, 225, 
246, 256, 268, 277). 

They may appear to animals (pages 16, 243, 253, 305). 



354 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

They may not believe that they are dead, and may feel 
so alive that they are astounded to see their dead bodies and 
the people gathered about them (pagres 154, 179, 195, 208, 
etc.). 

They may save people from imminent dangers (pages 91, 
280) or announce an approaching rescue (page 279). 

They may be seen without showing themselves intention- 
ally, (pages 190, 208, 212, 236, 265, etc.), as if they did 
not recognize their nearest relatives. How paradoxical is 
such indifference! But apparitions such as these manifest 
themselves frequently. 

Let us not forget that these were actual occurrences, as 
real as all the happenings which make up daily life. They 
bring us face to face with posthumous manifestations that 
are extremely varied; almost all of them are, to us, inexpli- 
cable. The thoughts and beliefs of the living often play a 
part in such manifestations, and it is difficult to eliminate 
them and to decide precisely what belongs to the other world. 
Let us note, however, that a belief in the dogmas of the 
Christian paradise, the Christian purgatory, and the Christian 
hell is not justified by the communications — apart from the 
cases in which prayers are demanded. 

What emerges most clearly from all this is the fact that 
there exists in us *' something" that is unknown, that has 
up to the present time been systematically eliminated from 
all scientific theories, and that this *' something" survives the 
disintegration of the earthly body, and the transformation 
of our material molecules ; these, as a matter of fact, cannot, 
from the strictly scientific point of view, be said to be 
destroyed, either. Whether this "something" be called a 
principle, an element, a psychic atom, a soul, or a spirit, 
matters little. In what form does this force survive? That 
is what we are inyestigating. Manifestations (intentional 
or involuntary) on the part of the dead prove that this 
force inherent in every living being may in certain cases, 



CONCLUSIONS 355 

and during a rather long period, be bound to earthly life 
by extremely subtle threads. But there is nothing to show 
that this is the normal state of the dead. The change from 
terrestrial life to life after death would indicate that the 
soul must adapt itself to new psychic conditions — something 
very difficult for us, who are living, to grasp. 

I am all the more certain of my inductions as to the 
existence of the soul beyond the grave, and the soul's in- 
fluence, from the fact that I spent a long time in probing 
them, verifying them, and passing upon them. From 1861 
to 1922 there are more than sixty years. So far-reaching 
an investigation is in itself a guarantee which gives me the 
highest hopes of the scientific worth of the conclusions. It 
would be only logical for those who deny the occurrences to 
base their opposition on an investigation of the same sort. 

It is to be noted that we are here concerned with facts and 
not with explanations. There is an important distinction! 
We know almost nothing as to the real nature of all these 
phenomena. There is a whole world to be discovered. 

The numerous discussions inspired by this complex sub- 
ject show us that, in general, people do not form a correct 
estimate of the precise nature of the formidable problem. 
We may divide our uncompromising adversaries into two dis- 
tinct categories : intolerant Catholics who are convinced that 
they know the fundamentals of the future life — heaven, pur- 
gatory, and hell — and who, knowing all, have nothing to 
learn, and materialists equally convinced that the soul does 
not exist. The materialists, believing they know that the 
soul is an illusion, see in everything manifestations of or- 
ganized matter. It is, therefore, to neither of these two sorts 
of adversaries that these pages are addressed, since they are 
not impartial and are already predisposed to deny. Since 
they know everything, let them not waste their time read- 
ing this book, which is written for those who seek. But 
readers free from all prejudices may wish for indispensable 



356 , DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

enlightenment on which to base their personal opinions. 

First, a word as to the value of our method. 

Despite all the care we may take in verifying documents 
and investigating the accuracy of the details given in them, 
it is impossible that they should all have an equal value. 
Some of them remain, of necessity, inexact, because, though 
people remember what they have witnessed, they do not 
always take note of details. Others, however, are mathe- 
matically ,exact. We must take this into consideration in 
judging the recollections. Our adversaries have not always 
the necessary honesty of mind. For example, the account 
given in Volume II, page 200, has been called questionable, 
doubtful (it is not a scientific rep'ort, but a mere reminis- 
cence). But the hotheads who wish to reject it on this 
pretext, and who dare to say that this lack of precision is 
typical of all the rest of the accounts ( ! ) , have taken good 
care not to call attention to the apparition told of on page 
335 — a case in which the names, the place, and the time were 
given, or that on page 354, or a hundred other cases. This 
is not mental honesty: it is a systematic opposition to the 
search for truth. A person who relates an occurrence is not 
making a technical I'eport, and is not of necessity careful in 
noting every detail. In the case in question (that of Lord 
Dufferin) there may have been confusion as to the pkce and 
the date, but the occurrence itself took place,^ and this 
is what struck the writer. Why should we not feel that in 
this, as in every case, there are degrees of precision? Are 
there not degrees of precision in astronomy, the most exact 
of all sciences? What observer can be sure as to the 
thousandth-of-a-second parallax of a star? And in spite of 
this, who can doubt that the stars are really at a great dis- 

1 We may read of an analogous case in Les Phenomenes premoni- 
toires, by Bozzano, p. 397. It is even, most probably, another reminis- 
cence of the same occurrence. Let us not take all these accounts 
literally. 



CONCLUSIONS 357 

tance away? For example, when the famous constellation 
of Hercules was measured with precision, the calculations 
did not agree. Do these divergencies prevent us from affirm- 
ing that this star-cluster is an immense distance away? In 
all these extremely complex investigations, there must be a 
certain proportion of errors. These do not invalidate the 
worth of the investigation. Let us not judge these psychic 
phenomena more severely than we do mathematical astron- 
omy, and let us not forget that in the case of every scien- 
tific observation there is the personal equation. Nor must we 
be more severe than in the case of historical facts, which it 
is difficult to be certain of. Let us judge every science, 
every field of research, according to its own special char- 
acteristics, and the conditions under which it may be investi- 
gated. Let us even suppose that out of these thousands of 
accounts, in general scrupulously authentic — accounts pre- 
sented sincerely, carefully and faithfully — there are a few 
that are vague or incomplete: in what way would the ex- 
ceptions lessen the value of the others? 

We can be sure of the facts. The explanations are still 
to be found. I should like to take the opportunity, just here, 
to remark that our knowledge is not absolute. All human 
science comes down to a perception of the relations existing 
between the appearances of things: science is a tiny island 
in the midst of the unknowable absolute. In my first pub- 
lished book C'La PluraUte des Mondes habites," 1862) I 
laid especial emphasis on this great issue in modern philos- 
ophy. Readers will find, as a matter of fact, the heading 
''The Essential Relativity of Things" on pages 249-253 of 
this work, and the following statement : 

The whole of human science — from the alpha of our knowledge 
to the omega — is hut the study of relativity. There is nothing ab- 
solute in the edifice of our sciences, however marvelous that edifice 
may be appear. The human mind seeks to know the relations be- 
tween things; this is all that it may dare. Our knowledge has 



358 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

validity when we compare things to an arbitrary "metaphysical 
unity/' taken as a starting-point. The universe, with its interplay 
of forces which are transformed ceaselessly as they act upon mat- 
ter, can provide nothing fixed which we might take as an absolute 
guide in our investigation of nature. 

These lines were written in 1862. I did not suspect to 
what degree the progress of science would have confirmed 
them by the time the words should come under the reader's 
eyes. 

The essential nature of the forces of the universe is hidden 
from us. We cannot be said to have penetrated the mystery 
merely because science has invented certain words. I have 
before me at this moment a compass made in the time of 
Louis XIII. It responds as readily as ever: its magnetized 
needle oscillates feverishly when it is moved in the slightest 
degree, and points with a sort of love toward the north 
pole. Wliat is magnetism? What is this property which 
has lasted for three hundred years? With what inherent 
quality has the steel needle been endowed? 

What is universal attraction ? 

The degree in which the worlds attract one another has 
long since been calculated by astronomers. Attraction be- 
tween spirits, invisible communication and telepathy are quite 
as real. Some day the force of this attraction will be rigor- 
ously calculated. And there is nothing to prove that psychic 
communication will not be established between the worlds: 
between Mars or Venus and the earth, between the various 
earths of the heavens. 

This work has proved, it appears to me, that spirit rules 
all, from the smallest molecule to human intelligence; I had 
already demonstrated this.^ All is contiguous, but the world 
of thought is not the world of matter, and we must repeat, 
for the hundredth time, that materialism is an erroneous 

^ Dieu dans la nature (1886). 



CONCLUSIONS 359 

and untenable theory. Mental attributes such as the power 
of judging, of reflecting, of affirming, of deciding, are not 
dependent on a mechanical combination of molecules of iron 
or carbon. The world of thought is not like this. Nor 
could any collection of molecules succeed in even working 
out the simple calculation that two and two make four, or 
that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right 
angles. Yes, the materialistic doctrine is erroneous. If we 
assume that the universe is ruled by forces that are uncon- 
scious, blind, and hostile, this leads to the conclusion that all 
life will finally be annihilated because of the cooling of the 
earth and the dissipation of energy, while a belief in spirits 
leads us to grant the existence of an intelligent guiding 
force — a safeguard of the Ideal — and a progressive evolution 
of all beings. And, as a matter of fact (let us ask it again), 
what is matter, really? The difference between a block of 
ice amd a cloud is only a difference in their state ; the nature 
of them is not dissimilar. The word matter is but a word. 
An analysis of what matter really consists of makes it take 
on, to-day, fantastically intricate aspects. It would appear, 
from rigorous calculations and extremely precise experiments, 
that a milligram of radium contains two million trillions of 
atoms! What can the size of an atom be? The atom, in 
turn, is revealed as a world in itself, a system of forces. 
May not an ''immaterial" soul be an atomic world? Matter 
and energy become one. This is what Pythagoras said (we 
quoted him at the beginning of this very volume). The visi- 
ble universe is composed of invisible elements. 

All is still to be looked into. But how unprepared human- 
ity is for a complete investigation of things! Mankind as a 
whole does not live in the sphere of the spirit. 

It follows that it is not possible to convince every one. 
In fact, our earthly human kind is not wholly intelligent. 
It is not ruled by pure reason; it is still a little barbarous, 
a little animal, we might say. General Berthaut, a man of 



360 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

great mental vigor and wide erudition, wrote me one day: 
**Yes, this human kind of ours, supposedly logical, is stupid. 
I can still see Colonel de la Tour d'Auvergne, standing, in 
1870, on the field of battle. Crossing his arms as death 
mowed down all those about him, he cried, 'Good God! 
how silly it all is!' " 

With two or three exceptions out of every thousand human 
beings, we must acknowledge that we are living on a planet 
of brutes. Our earthly race, far from having reached an 
age of reason, is hardly more than four or five years old. 
People are children, unconsciously ferocious ; they find amuse- 
ment in cutting the heads off flies, in making innocent animals 
suffer; they think that war, which is infamous and the her- 
itage of the beasts, is a divine institution and will endure 
forever. Yes, it will endure as long as men are fools. 

Must we, on this account, despair of progress ? 

Analytical research will require much time, above all in 
the realm of the psychic. We must applaud every attempt. 
. The special problem which we have gone into deeply in 
this work has been probed and discussed numerous times, in 
particular by spiritists. Monsieur L^on Denis, a writer who 
is sincere, eloquent, and persuasive, published in 1890 a re- 
markable book entitled ^'Apres la mort: expose de la phi- 
losophic des Esprits" (''After Death: An Exposition of the 
Philosophy of Spirits") . It was widely read and ran through 
a large number of editions. It is a sort of new bible, 
founded on spiritism. I considered myself justified in giving 
the name "After Death" to the third part of this trilogy; 
I told the author of the aforementioned work, whom I have 
the honor of numbering among my friends, that it would be 
impossible to confuse his book with mine, since mine is the 
third part of a longer work, and is an independent scientific 
discussion, in which spiritism enters only as something to 
be investigated and not as a doctrine. I think that medium- 
istic research must not be disdained, must not be considered 



CONCLUSIONS 361 

illusory and valueless (this accusation is often made), but that 
it is far from having solved the problem. There is no con- 
nection between the work which I have had the pleasure of 
mentioning and the present work. Out of the four hundred 
and thirty pages which make up Leon Denis's book, one hun- 
dred and eighty are given over to an exposition of the various 
religions, from those of ancient India to Christianity, and 
the two hundred and fifty other pages are dedicated to the 
teachings of spiritism considered as a religion. It is a noble 
ethical and religious dissertation and is, above all, a work in 
which feeling predominates. 

In the present work we have been careful not to abandon the 
experimental method; careful to remain within the realm 
of pure science. 

The objection is often made that there is a possibility of 
illusions, of wrong impressions, of hallucinations; I believe 
that I have answered all such objections. To deny every- 
thing would be highly absurd. Unless we reject all human 
testimony, it is not possible to doubt narrations that are suffi- 
ciently well authenticated. Indeed, there are not many his- 
torical facts or scientific phenomena which are vouched for by 
so great a number of witnesses. To suppose that all these 
people were "woolgathering,'' had hallucinations, or were 
the dupes of their imagination — ^such a hypothesis is abso- 
lutely untenable. 

We have before us a problem to be solved; the solution 
of it is so difficult, the problem is so obscure that in general 
people prefer not to face it, to deny everything. But not 
to admit the authenticity of occurrences because one is in- 
capable of explaining them, presupposes, really, an ingenu- 
ousness no longer in fashion. What are we really explain- 
ing? Are we not always halted by a question-mark? But 
facts are facts ; there is no escaping that. The skepticism of 
uncompromising deniers seems as strange and as lacking in 
logic as that of certain believers, who are familiar with 



362 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

astroriomical truths and know that the earth revolves around 
the sun; know the importance of this heavenly body; know 
that the distance from the earth of millions of suns has been 
measured; know about the Milky Way, the star-strewn im- 
mensities, and yet continue to believe that our planet is the 
ethical center and the goal of creation, and that the starry 
universe was created for the dweller on this tiny ant-hill. 
But most physiologists reason in this way, because they can- 
not discover a soul with their scalpels. 

No one has the right to affirm that the dead never come 
back, that ghosts are always illusory, and that all appari- 
tions are the products of erroneous impressions. We do 
not die (as was proved recently, in his treatise, by Monsieur 
Chevreuil, one of the most indefatigable of our contemporary 
psychologists). But what we may state with certainty is 
that manifestations of the dead are not a part of the normal 
course of nature and that they constitute extremely rare 
exceptions. 

Life beyond the grave must be regarded as entirely sepa- 
rate from ours, from a physical point of view. The two 
spheres are dissimilar, and our mortal eyes cannot behold 
the other world. 

By watching the course of events we see that in general 
the dead do not come back, and that manifestations from 
the other side of the grave are exceptional. We may regret 
this with regard to the administering of justice and the cor- 
rection of errors in the teaching of history — in particular 
cases as well as in general. But it is a fact. 

The ethical world is governed by laws, as is the physical 
world; but we do not know these laws. Everything still 
awaits investigation. It is a world very different from ours, 
and we, with our earthly ideas, should like to see it con- 
ducted on different principles. After certain crimes, should 
not spirits 'protest, reveal, take vengeance? (We are 
astonished, for example, to mention a recent case, that the 



CONCLUSIONS 363 

eleven women and the youth murdered by Landru remained 
unalterably dumb during this long trial of a vain and in- 
famous monster.) Such silence on the part of victims is 
— let us not deny it — one of the great objections which our 
honest investigation finds in its way. Unfortunately, psychic 
phenomena always come unsought ; we wish for them in vain. 
It is a question of observation and not of experiment, a dif- 
ference which is almost always forgotten. 

These phenomena are spontaneous; they are witnessed; 
they are not deliberately produced. Several professors at 
the Sorbonne and at the College de France are declaring that 
an occurrence is authentic only if it can be reproduced in 
a laboratory. Such reasoning is absolutely fallacious. We 
cannot reproduce, experimentally, a shooting-star, an aerolite, 
a storm, an electrical disturbance, or a sun-spot. I will go 
farther and add that the impossibility of authenticating a 
metaphysical occurrence does not justify us in denying that it 
actually took place. A celebrated physician told me that a 
woman who was in his care grew seriously ill and almost died 
as a result of a psychic manifestation on the part of some 
one dead. But it seems that she refused, obstinately, to allow 
her name to be mentioned in connection with the story, which 
remained, of necessity, anonymous. We must take things 
as they are. 

If, therefore, on the one hand, the immortality of the 
soul has been proved positively, the fact has been brought 
out, on the other, that these occurrences which prove it are 
rare, exceptional, and often incomprehensible. But — let us 
repeat it — it is not important from the standpoint of reality 
whether or not we understand a thing, whether or not we 
can explain it. Are there indubitable manifestations of the 
dead? — ^yes, or no? This was the question which we asked. 
We have answered it in the affirmative. 

Judging by the occurrences as a whole, we gain an im- 
pression that visible manifestations of the dead are rare. 



364 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

But who can prove to us that spirits do not act upon our 
minds, and that thoughts which seem our own are not caused 
by them, in certain cases? Beings whom we love may be 
near us without our suspecting it, and may, though we know 
nothing of it, act upon our souls, which are attuned to theirs. 

An invisible world surrounds us ; unknown forces are more 
numerous than known forces; science is merely at its dawn, 
and — let us repeat it — ^what we know is but a tiny island in 
the midst of an unexplored ocean. During the last quarter 
of a century, unexpected discoveries in the realms of physics 
and occultism have made us guess the existence of regions 
hitherto unsuspected; since we are now better informed, we 
shall be able to explore them from this time on. For cen- 
turies, our minds have slumbered too deeply on the pillow of 
indifference offered us by the recognized sciences. 

We must not expect to enter into relations with the dead 
under the same conditions as with the living. They have 
no material bodies, endowed with physical senses. They are 
different beings, in a different world. Communication be- 
tween the living and the dead is of the most varied and 
enigmatical nature. 

In this work we have always stressed actual occurrences, 
not metaphysical reasoning, not philosophic or religious con- 
siderations nor sentimental inductions. Eventually all these 
must be brought into harmony with the new facts; but the 
positive experimental method must continue to be our guide. 

Now that it has been proved that death does not annihilate 
human beings and that they continue to live on, we should 
like to know what substance they consist of, where they exist, 
whether they are happy, whether they continue their re- 
lations with us. 

Yes, these questions must now be asked. Where are these 
souls? Do they remain in communication with the beings 
whom they loved? What do they do? What becomes of 
them? Do they go far away from the earth? Do they oc- 



CONCLUSIONS 365 

cupy a determinable sphere ? By what means do they mani- 
fest themselves? Are they immortal? Are they reincar- 
nated? Does the multiplicity of the soul's existences com- 
plete the doctrine of the multiplicity of ir habited worlds? 
All these are further problems, supplement iry to our first 
problem; they could not be taken up until it had been con- 
sidered. Can they be solved by the scientific method which 
enabled us to solve the initial problem? All these are ques- 
tions like those which we have just looked into; I should be 
particularly happy if I could solve them, as well. I must 
ask my readers to take into consideration the fact that we 
had to begin at the beginning — that is to say, hy first provv- 
ing the existence of the soul after death. 

Since this main point has been settled, we shall now trj^ 
to elucidate some few of these questions. But before begin- 
ning this attempt we must bear in mind the fact that we 
shall not be able to attain the same certainty that we did 
in the case of the existence of the soul, and that we shall, 
doubtless, succeed in solving only a small part of a mystery 
that has until now been impenetrable. 

In the first place, the accounts of occurrences given in 
this work show us that our loved ones who have died remain 
for some time in our mental environment, and manifest them- 
selves when circumstances are propitious, though to them 
time and space are not what they are to us, and though they 
live in the fourth dimension, in hyperspace. Material mani- 
festations do not take place easily, and are rare, but psychic 
impressions may be frequently transmitted. Reincarnation, 
which would seem to be the general law, does not take place 
immediately. Perhaps the higher spirits soar, of themselves, 
and without any delay, to the other worlds for which their 
evolution has fitted them. The ethical world, as we have 
said, is governed by laws, as is the physical world. 

"We have proved that manifestations of the dead are un- 
questionable. But how can we understand the manner in 



366 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

which a dead person acts upon a living person? This re- 
quires extended and complex investigation. I should like 
to remind readers that I had made this my subject of inquiry 
when I wrote ''Uranie" (1889), and that I tried to sum up 
my conclusions in the following terms: 

Must we admit that in these apparitions the dead person's spirit 
really took on bodily form? It does not seem necessary to as- 
sume this. In our dreams we believe that we see persons who are 
in reality not before our eyes, which, as a matter of fact, are closed. 
We see them perfectly, as distinctly as in broad daylight. We 
speak to them, we listen to them, we converse with them; we have 
an impression that we are really living through certain scenes. 
Assuredly, it is neither our retina nor our optic nerve which sees 
them, any more than it is our ears which hear them. It is a ques- 
tion of our brain-cells alone. 

Certain apparitions may be subjective, within us. In this case, 
the being who manifests himself acts, from a distance, on the being 
who perceives, and this influence on the percipient's brain deter- 
mines the inner vision, which seems exterior, as in dreams. But 
this vision, while subjective, is neither chimerical nor illusory. 

The investigations conducted recently through experiments in the 
phenomena of suggestion, hypnotism, and somnambulism put us on 
the road not to an explanation, perhaps, but at least to a rational 
admission of a certain number of facts. In these cases, one mind 
influences another, beyond a doubt. Certainly the soul is not ac- 
tually borne from one place to another, and does not really take on 
the aspect of a person whose clothes were made by a tailor or a 
dressmaker. And there is no being before the percipient; no being 
with an overcoat more or less ample, a dress or a cloak, and the 
various accessories of masculine or feminine dress; no being with 
a cane or an umbrella. But, without a doubt, the spirit which is to 
appear acts directly upon the mind of the percipient and effects it 
in such a way that the percipient believes he sees, hears, and even 
touches a person appearing in the exact form in which he (the per- 
cipient) knew him. 

Just as a thought, a recollection gives rise, in our minds, to an 
image which may be very clear and vivid — in this same way a be- 



CONCLUSIONS 367 

ing, acting upon another being, may transmit to him an image which 
will give him a momentary illusion of reality. These phenomena 
are now obtained experimentally in investigations of hypnotism and 
suggestion, investigations which are still in their first stages but 
which yield nevertheless results worthy of the closest attention, from 
a psychological as well as a physiological point of view. It is not 
the retina which is affected, but the optic centers of the brain ; these 
are played upon by psychic forces. It is the actual mentality which 
is influenced. In what way? We do not know.^ 

I still agree v^ith what I wrote at that time. I continue 
to think as I did then, after more than thirty consecutive 
years of experiments, and this interpretation has been con- 
firmed and elaborated by the progress of the psychic sciences, 
by the prodigious discoveries of Hertzian waves, of the wire- 
less telegraph and telephone, and by the new phenomena 
observed in the fields of telepathy and thought-transmdssion. 

One mind may act upon another, from a distance. 
This mental action results, in the receiving brain, in a mental 
image which seems objective. 

There is, really, no clothing, nor is there any body, even 
an ethereal or astral body ; there is merely a cerebral impres- 
sion which results in an image. The image which we see 
in a mirror is not real, though it seems so, at first sight, 
to a child or a dog. 

As the fact that there may be suggestion from one in- 
carnate mind to another incarnate mind is admitted to-day 
in scientific theories, is it rational to refuse to admit that 
the soul, freed from the material bonds of the body, may 
possess the same faculties, since its survival has been proved ? 

Is it over-bold to suppose that a bodiless soul may mani- 
fest itself to an incarnate soul, and may make this incarnate 
soul perceive a form, an aspect known or unknown to the 
percipient ? 

1 Uranie, p. 236 



368 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

My readers may have seen the following (in the year 
1900) in ''L'Ineonnu," on the subject of apparitions: 

It is not necessary to suppose that the soul of the dying person 
leaves its sphere and is borne to the subject aifected. There may 
be only a radiation, a kind of energy still unknown, an ether- 
vibration, a wave coming in contact with a brain and giving it an 
illusion of external reality. All the objects which we see, in fact, 
are perceptible to us only through images and reach our minds 
only as images.^ 

What v^e conceived of intuitively in 1900, has been actu- 
ally shown to be true, to-day. 

Through a historical coincidence worthy of attention, our 
present metaphysical conclusions synchronize with one of the 
most marvelous discoveries of physical science: the radio 
telegraph and telephone. A performance, a concert, a 
speech may be seen and heard, when we are hundreds of 
kilometers away ; they may be gathered in by a receiving ap- 
paratus, without being transmitted by any wire whatsoever. 
In the open ocean the passengers and crew of a ship may see 
and hear a performance being played and sung in Paris. I 
had dared to predict this progress in ''Lumen" (in 1866), on 
page 273, where the following may be found: ''The tele- 
phoneoscope makes all the most important or the most inter- 
esting happenings known everywhere. A play given in Chi- 
cago or in Paris, is heard and seen in all the cities of the 
world." The genius of inventors has made such progress 
possible in our times — progress which I had thought of as 
taking place only in future centuries — and, to-day, makes 
us begin to understand telepathic transmission, which was 
denied only a few years ago. 

We may now try to discover what apparitions consist of, 
since their authenticity has been proved. What is their 
nature? Are phantoms realf 

^ Ulnconnu, p. 276. 



CONCLUSIONS 369 

In the first place, what is reality? What is our criterion 
of reality? 

The usual answer is: ''That which is objective, outside 
ourselves, is real; that which is subjective, a product of our 
own sensations, is not real." 

This definition is highly debatable. An inner sensation 
may correspond to reality, above all with regard to psychic 
occurrences. A friend who has just died at a distance, ap- 
pears to you, in a dream or otherwise, announces his death, 
tells you that he has been drowned, crushed beneath a train, 
or murdered. He is dripping with water, or you can see his 
wounds; in a word, his image corresponds to reality. We 
have had a large number of examples of this. These are 
subjective impressions, but real. 

The first half of the definition is equally debatable. We 
are told that that which is objective, outside ourselves, is 
real. But in what consists the reality of the rainbow which 
you see, which you measure, which you analyze, which you 
take a photograph of? It is but an optical phenomenon. 
Your neighbor sees a rainbow different from the one you 
see; your left eye does not see the same one as your right 
eye. In what, then, does the reality of the rainbow lie? 
Or that of a landscape depicted by the atmosphere, in the 
form of a mirage ? The stick which, when you thrust it into 
the water, is broken by refraction, furnishes merely an ex- 
ample of an illusion. Et cetera. 

Our reasoning must be guided by such considerations as 
these. 

Yes, phantoms are real. But in what does their reality 
lie? 

Madame Ballet-Gallif et 's father, who had been dead for 
two years, really appeared to his daughter, to his son-in-law, 
and to their dog, in their house in Lyons (Chapter I, page 
16). Eobert Mackenzie really appeared to tell his employer 
that he had not committed suicide (page 26). The young 



370 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

woman who died of the cholera in St. Louis, and whose face 
had been scratched by her mother when she was being at- 
tired for the funeral, really appeared to her brother, in 
broad daylight (page 32). Monsieur Castex-Degrange's 
aunt actually saw her woman friend, in a costume of which 
the aunt knew nothing (Chapter II, page 52). Russell, a 
member of the church choir, really appeared, with a roll of 
m^usic in his hand, to his colleague, who did not know of his 
death (page 64). The Colorado Indian was actually seen, 
at Interlaken, by Mrs. Bishop (page 67). Mrs. Bellamy's 
friend really appeared to Mr. Bellamy (page 69). A father 
really appeared to his daughter to ask her to pay a debt of 
which she was ignorant (Chapter III, page 77) ; there was 
the same sort of apparition in the case of Count Czacki 
(page 78). Mrs. Simpson's friend really appeared to her, 
and asked her to pay a small debt (page 79). The voice of 
a father was really heard by his daughter — a voice which 
revealed the secret whereabouts of a sum of money (page 
84). Drisko, the captain of a ship, was actually saved by 
his friend Burton just as his ship was about to be wrecked 
(page 91). Michael Coulay really appeared to his daughter, 
in the clothing in which he had been dressed for burial 
(page 94). The Copenhagen teacher really saw her hus- 
band (Chapter IV, page 119). The child of seven really 
saw his father (page 120). A young man actually heard his 
friend speak — a friend who had just committed suicide 
(page 122). Rosa, the young Italian woman, really ap- 
peared, after her death, to Mademoiselle Hosmer (page 126). 
Mademoiselle Stella actually saw, in her room, her friend 
who had just died (page 127). Mrs. Tweedale actually 
showed herself to her grandson and her son (Chapter V, 
page 133). Bard the gardener actually saw Madame de 
Freville (page 141). The Albany doctor really saw a young 
woman, who had just died, crossing his room (page 143). 
Madame Boullier, in Cherbourg, actually saw Madame 



CONCLUSIONS 371 

Arondel, who had been dead for some hours (page 154). 
The little Gayraud boy really saw his little girl friend, who 
had died the day before (page 161). Count Ubaldo Beni 
really appeared to his wife, to tell her about his murderer 
(Chapter VI, page 170). A young man who had been buried 
for two days was. really seen by his sister, walking along 
before her (page 189). Monsieur Basset really saw, on a 
road, the phantom of a man who had been dead for a month 
(Chapter VII, page 212). Et cetera. We might go on in 
this way to the end of the volume. It would be useless to 
give a recapitulation of these hundreds of pages. 

It is absolutely clear that these were neither illusions nor 
the i)roducts of the observers' minds. Phantoms of the 
dead exist, show themselves, manifest themselves. They are 
seen in full face, in profile, obliquely, and reflected in mirrors, 
in perfect accord with the laws of perspective. We may 
even think that certain of them are more or less material, 
like the doubles of the living which we investigated, for 
photographs have been taken of them (I have unquestionable 
proofs of this). They are, therefore, similar in certain as- 
pects to living persons. 

We have realized, on the other hand, how difficult it is to 
understand the transition from the visible world to the invis- 
ible world, even from the essentially materialistic angle of 
the atomic state. What we call matter is a visible and pon- 
derable collection of invisible and imponderable atoms. One 
and the same substance may be in turn visible and invisible, 
the difference being effected in a lapse of a few minutes. 
Observe the formation of a summer cloud, and its dissipation 
into the blue, and you will be convinced of the possibility of 
this metamorphosis. Fire consumes a fragment of matter 
and reduces it to vapor, to invisible and imponderable mole- 
cules. Air, water, carbon, nitrogen, and the other elements 
are palpable in the living bodies which they have formed, 
as well as in inorganic substances. To our eyes, to our senses, 



372 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

a fragment of marble^ a piece of iron, a human being, an 
animal, a tree, is solid, compact, unyielding. In the case of 
electricity, the air offers resistance, while metal is a conductor. 
To minds superior to ours, endowed with other means of per- 
ception, this solid matter may seem unreal, v>^hile thoughts 
may be the only things real to their habitual perceptions. 
And this is not a purely groundless hypothesis: in that part 
of terrestrial nature which we perceive directly^ — in the ani- 
mal world and, in particular, in the insect world, though we 
class animals and insects as inferior beings — we note faculties 
very superior to ours. These faculties are markedly differ- 
ent from those of human beings; they are disconcerting and 
incomprehensible. The least imaginative entomologists at- 
test that such powers have been scientifically observed, and 
that they are marvelous and inexplicable. 

That there is a psychic world, invisible yet real, would, 
seem to me proved unquestionably for all future time. 
Doubtless, we are now committing: 

The unpardonable sin of being right too soon, 

but the problem will be solved in the near future. 

The particular occurrences investigated in this work have 
shown us unquestionable physical phenomena: furniture 
moved, blows struck, bells rung, objects broken, et cetera. 
The preceding pages are full of such things. Often these 
noises, these rappings inside furniture, this ringing of bells, 
these chairs and dishes being moved, these steps that are 
heard, astonish us by their trivial nature. But should we 
base our beliefs concerning the future life on the descriptions 
of Plato, of Confucius, of Buddha, of Jesus? Should we 
think of normal life beyond the grave as going on in a world 
only of noble minds, of thinkers? On the day after their 
death are men very different from the men they were the day 
before? We know the worth of the great majority of them, 
from equatorial Africa to the poles. 



CONCLUSIONS 373 

"We have a tendency to think that the dead are superior to 
the living, a tendency to see in them theosophists taught by 
Zoroaster, Manu, and Krishna, making conscious progress 
toward nirvana, and learned in the doctrines of Karma. 
Such an idea is erroneous. There is no testimony to prove 
this superiority. Take most of the dwellers on our planet, 
more than half of them: what can these be after death? 
How many human beings are there who feed their bodies 
greedily, but who never nourish their minds? It cannot be 
denied that there are very few who do otherwise. In such 
cases the human machine is controlled by a soul smothered in 
matter. 

I often pass the door of a ruddy-faced wine-merchant, and 
always see him pouring out more or less adulterated drinks 
for groups of drunkards, and listening toi the'ir various 
political squabbles. Oaths and disputes have free sway, to 
the joy of the speakers. What will all those people be the 
day after their death? 

And the millions of peasants who have never thought of 
anything, whose horizon is bounded by a nut-shell ? And the 
innumerable vulgar simpletons of great cities ? In a word, all 
the stupid, illiterate elements, all the useless or harmful per- 
sons? Look at the idlers, the actors, the dancers, the box- 
ing enthusiasts, the petty stock-jobbers, the gamblers, the 
pleasure-seekers, the prostitutes; people who do nothing, who 
think of nothing but their own engrossing selves; these in- 
tellectual and moral nullities — all these beings who are blind 
and deaf in the midst of the varied spectacles offered by na- 
ture, in the midst of human evolution and the prodigious dis- 
coveries of science! They live on the snobbishness found 
everywhere, on material appetites that are ever unsatiated, 
ignorant of everything and totally indifferent to the search 
for truth (there are souls of animals which are superior to 
those of certain men). We may ask ourselves in just what 
their immortality lies. 



374 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

An erroneous impression, the origin of which is lost in the 
night of time, and which successive religions have handed 
down for thousands of years, has perpetuated the idea that 
bodiless souls, by the mere fact of having left the flesh, be- 
come perfect, pure spirits. This is a false doctrine similar 
to the one which teaches that the sky is a beatific abode 
unchanged by any shadow, any disturbance, though we know 
from modern astronomy that the immensity of the skies is 
the scene of tremendous cataclysms. We perceive this con- 
stantly with our telescopes. 

When the human soul leaves earthly life, it does not be- 
come angelic. Death cannot make any man omniscient. The 
state of the soul on the day after death cannot be very differ- 
ent from its state on the day before death, as we have al- 
ready remarked. The ignorant man cannot take on knowl- 
edge which he did not acquire, nor can the simpleton become 
intelligent. The guillotine does not make a saint of a bandit. 
We may conclude from this that, for the most part, the dead 
are not intellectual, are not superior to most of the living. 

On this earth, taken as a whole, nearly a hundred thousand 
human beings die in a day. The great majority of these 
dead beings are unconscious monads. The atmosphere is full 
of them. 

It Y/ould appear that souls still at a low stage of evolution 
— in an embryonic state, so to speak — remain for some time in 
the atmosphere, and that the vast majority of them are un- 
conscious. They constitute a cosmic environment of diffused 
consciousness. This mingles at times, and under certain con- 
ditions, with the individual, subconscious minds of the living, 
and, in the case of mediums, manifests itself in various spiri- 
tistic phenomena. If this is true — and it would seem very 
probable — ^we should have to change markedly our conception 
of the composition of the atmosphere. Simple chemical analy- 
sis would no longer suffice. We should have to make out a list 
such as the following: 



CONCLUSIONS 375 

Nitrogen 78.1. 

Oxygen 20.9. 

Watery vapor (variable according to 

location and temperature). 

Hydrogen (increases with altitude ; 

considerable quantities 300 
kilometers above sea-level). 

Carbonic acid 0.03. 

Argon 0.00937. 

Neon 0.0015. 

Helium 0.0005. 

Krypton 0.0001. 

Xenon 0.000005. 

Innumerable, invisible bacilli, by the billion. 

Ions, electrons, dynamic atoms. 

Psychic elements, which cannot be measured. 

(A long time must elapse before the last line of the fore- 
going can be set down in scientific treatises.) 

We do not live merely in a material way, but are sur- 
rounded by a mental environment which influences our phys- 
ical and moral well-being. Many incidents in our lives, 
which we attribute to chance, are not fortuitous. 

There are psychic currents which may be likened to aerial 
and magnetic currents; their existence is shown by very 
numerous and exact coincidences. The old adage that ' ' ideas 
are in the air" is not far from the truth. 

The psychic elements which we spoke of a short time ago 
manifest themselves in particular in spiritistic experiments. 
I should like to give, word for word, the following state- 
ments, made by Primot ^ : 

To scientific observations, which bear each other out, on the part 
of Aksakoff, Myers, and Carl du Prel, I can add my own personal 
observations. In the course of the numerous mediumistic experi- 
ments which I have made (more than three hundred) with mediums 
of different temperaments and aptitudes (one of them went into 

'i- Psychologie d'une Conversion, p. 671. 



376 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

a trance each time and was a remarkable subject of study) I have 
never been able to obtain, though I asked for them at each ex- 
periment, any exact and coherent replies as to the form and con- 
ditions of life in the Beyond. Most of the time I was given infor- 
mation hopelessly meaningless. Very often, the spirit answered 
that the inhabitants of the other world were forbidden to make 
revelations of this nature. And when, by chance, he deigned to 
drop his customary triviality, it was to dictate sentences and state- 
ments more or less philosophic, some of which were not lacking 
in power or in literary value, but which never passed beyond the 
bounds of what the subconscious mind of a cultivated man could 
have thought of or suggested, and which, in any case, never told us 
anything that we should have liked to know as to the future life. 

Nevertheless, it will be admitted that if there is any one subject 
on which a disembodied spirit might help us by giving us interesting 
and unlooked-for information, it is assuredly this subject of sur- 
vival after death. It would even seem that this should be his chief 
concern and that he should spare no pains to give precise replies to 
those who question him on such important matters; replies which 
should bear the stamp of mystery, originality, and extraneousness, 
so to speak, which we would be justified in expecting from a spirit 
who has become a stranger to our terrestrial preoccupations, and 
who lives in a world very different from ours. Take the case of a 
traveler who has returned from the polar regions: has he nothing 
better to talk of to his friends and relatives than the unimportant 
news of the day and the trivialities of ordmary life? 

When we consider, moreover, the motives which inspire and ap- 
pear to govern the apparitions of phantoms, we see, likewise, that 
it is almost always terrestrial preoccupations, terrestrial mono- 
ideisms which absorb completely the very limited field of con- 
sciousness through which they manifest themselves. These preoc- 
cupations are like those of hypnotic suggestion, which also absorbs, 
entirely, the field of consciousness, equally limited, of a hypnotized 
person, and renders him insensitive to any other influence but that 
of the hypnotist. 

It is the same with the disembodied spirit when it manifests it- 
self through a medium. The field of consciousness which the 
medium displays in this manifestation, must be, like that of the 



CONCLUSIONS 377 

phantom, very limited, and is most often made up only of earthly 
recollections. The spirit's real personality, the personality which 
results from his new state in the Beyond, would appear to have no 
part in it. And it is precisely because this is true that, in France, 
disembodied spirits — unless it is the medium himself or those with 
him who play this part unconsciously — teach the doctrine of suc- 
cessive reincarnations, while those in America, on the contrary, con- 
demn this doctrine. Both groups of spirits are sincere: all have 
found such beliefs among their earthly recollections. The reincar- 
nationist, for example, has remembered the works of AUan-Kardec 
or other French spiritists whose books he might have read when 
he was alive, or else such things were discussed in the circles which 
he frequented. The anti-reincarnationist remembers certain books 
or the discussions in American spiritist circles where a belief in 
reincarnation is usually condemned (because of the negroes). 

Our conclusion, after considering these various circumstances, is 
as follows : That part of the personality of the deceased which, in 
mediumistic seances, manifests itself and reaches us, is, generally 
speaking, but a reflection of the total consciousness: one of those 
transitory and fragmentary states of being which the study of hyp- 
notism has allowed us to perceive and to define; a condition fed by 
terrestrial memories. It is a sort of dim dream on the part of the 
disembodied spirit. 

It is not to be doubted, however, that intelligent forces 
exist around us. When, in spiritistic seances, we ask that 
our hands or our foreheads be touched, we feel this contact 
exactly in the spot designated. There is no hesitation, even 
in total darkness. Du Prel relates that, during a spiritistic 
seance in Vienna, he asked, mentally, that Ms left ear be 
pulled, and, since he felt nothing, that his nose be pulled: 
still nothing. Then he asked that his right ear be pulled. 
Thereupon, his left ear, his nose and his right ear were pulled 
consecutively, without any hesitation, and with as much as^ 
surance as if it had been done by some one who could see 
clearly. I know personally of fifty phenomena of this same 
sort. 



378 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

The psychic world which is still to be discovered is immense 
and illimitable. 

Many conceptions have been formed as to the state of the 
soul after death and the future life : by the Aryans in the 
time of Rama; by the Asiatics in the time of Zoroaster; by 
the Greeks in the time of Homer, of Hesiod, of Pythagoras, 
of Plato ; by the Pharaohs known to us through excavations ; 
the Hebrews in the time of Moses ; the Hindus in the time of 
Buddha ; the Druids in the time of the Gallic dolmens ; Jesus 
Christ and the gospels ; Mohammed and the Koran ; the Swe- 
denborgians ; the spiritists ; the theosophists ; the scientists of 
the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There have been de- 
scriptions of the Elysian Fields, of paradise, of hell, of pur- 
gatory, of limbo, of the abode of the dead, of the astral plane, 
of ethereal journeys, of palingenesis, of reincarnation, 
of the multiplicity of the existences of the soul : a whole un- 
explored universe has been created, in comparison with which 
the suggestive bits of sculpture of our cathedrals are but an 
inadequate anthropomorphic representation. Is it possible to 
bring some clarity into these more or less hazy conceptions? 

Analysts enumerate about fifty religions, or, rather, about 
fifty distinct religious beliefs, each with its own particular 
dogma as to the future life. These religions are not in 
agreement, nor do they agree with the little positive science 
which we may possess. But let us not forget the noteworthy 
pronouncement of a deep thinker, Claude Bernard: ^*I am 
fully persuaded,'^ he wrote, *'that a day will come when 
the physiologist, the poet, and the philosopher will speak the 
same language, and when all of them will agree." And let 
us join Edouard Schure in regretting that science and re- 
ligion are two mutually hostile and irreconcilable forces; 
such a state of things should not prevail. Two truths can- 
not be reciprocally opposed. Men know only what they have 
learned. We know, for example, that the earth makes a 
complete rotation in twenty-four hours and a complete revo- 



CONCLUSIONS 379 

lution about the sun in a year. These are facts ; they are in- 
contestable, proved up to the hilt. That which positive 
science has definitely proved is unshakable. We are justified 
in thinking that religious ideas will undergo a progressive 
evolution and that the conflicts between religion and science, 
rendered famous by Spencer and the other rationalists, will 
vanish like the fogs of dawn at the rising of the summer sun. 

Louis Eble, a distinguished author, wrote, some years ago, 
a discerning book ^ which aimed to show that modern science 
cannot teach us what the future life is, but that there can be 
no doubt as to the reality of that future life. This work was 
published in 1904. Have the investigations of the last twenty 
years shed any more light? 

' ' Where are the souls of the dead ? ' ' people ask. 

The various religions present various views as to the future 
life. Those Christians who are Protestants have taken over 
heaven and hell; Catholics have set purgatory between the 
two. The Jews refrain from putting forward a definite con- 
ception, while retaining the angels; the Mohammedans hope, 
rather, for a sensual paradise; the Buddhists see nirvana on 
destiny's celestial horizon; the Greeks had their Elysian 
Fields and their Tartarus; the Egyptians had their Amenti, 
and believed in doubles. At bottom, all these conceptions 
are anthropomorphic. 

In the reliefs on Gallo-Roman tombs, we often see the 
moon represented by a crescent (to see these one should 
visit the Langres museum, in particular), and the idea that 
the souls of the dead might be borne to the moon prevailed 
for a long time. Upon the rise of the Christian religion, 
its followers immediately opposed this conception, and we 
frequently read the following denial in the homilies of the 
first centuries of our era: ^'Nec in lunam incolant^' (''They 
do not dwell on the moon"). 

1 La Vie future decant la sagesse antique et la science modern^ 
(Paris, 1904). 



380 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

The question of an abiding-place does not apply to souls 
as it does to bodies. The spirit does not occupy any definite 
spot. But let us acknowledge that it is impossible for us to 
conceive of any form, any aspect of a future life which is 
dissociated from our senses. 

Christians ask themselves, very naturally, where their dead 
loved ones are; they try to form a conception of the place 
where they may dwell. This is because they have been 
brought up with the ideas and according to the imagery of the 
ancient theological astronomy of the time of the Apostles, 
the Apocalypse, the Evangelists, and the church fathers. 
By this doctrine there is a paradise for the good, the saints, 
and the angels; this conception of things includes the de- 
scent of Jesus into hell, the Ascension, the Assumption, 
the Trinity, the singing bands of the chosen. It is difficult, 
not to say impossible, to rid ourselves of terrestrial ideas 
of time and space. 

Nevertheless, the soul, withdrawn from human life, is 
free from all these restrictions of the material world. 

Astronomy has always been connected with philosophic and 
religious speculations as to the future life. It could not be 
otherwise. The physical world is the framework of the spir- 
itual world. That these two divisions of thought should be 
associated is inevitable. What does the expression 'Ho be 
in the sky" mean? Everything is in the sky. The earth 
on which, we live is a heavenly body in the sky, like Mars, 
Jupiter, Saturn, Sirius, or Vega. Dante's spheres, the choirs 
of the Cherubim, the thrones and the heavenly hosts, the 
band of the chosen, the supreme domination of the Trin- 
ity — all these can no longer be accepted save in symbolic 
form. Eternal life has nothing to do with all this. We 
know to-day that nothing in the universe is either ''up" or 
*'down." A representation of Christ's ascension had a 
meaning when people believed that the earth was flat and 
at the bottom of the universe, that hell was in the lower 



CONCLUSIONS 381 

regions {ad inferos), and that the sky was above. This rep- 
resentation no longer has any significance, since, twelve hours 
afterward, by this way of thinking, Jesus would fall ver- 
tically, head downward. 

What is the sky, then? It is universal space; to us it is 
the Milky Way. Our planet is a tiny village of this Milky 
Way ; our sun is one of its stars ; it is composed of a billion 
suns. According to modern calculations it may have a di- 
ameter anywhere up to three hundred thousand light years, 
each of these years corresponding to nine thousand four 
hundred and sixty-seven billion kilometers! 

The reliefs on our beautiful Gothic churches show us, 
everywhere, representations of the Christian universe, of the 
last judgment, of heaven and hell; these can correspond to 
no reality. 

i'or centuries and centuries Christian doctrines have taught 
the resurrection of the body. Credo resurrectionem carnis. 
It is an article of faith. In his Epistle to the Romans, Saint 
Paul said (viii, 11) : "But if the Spirit of him that raised 
up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ 
from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his 
Spirit that dwelleth in you." Belief was exacted — definite, 
unquestioning belief. It was actually that same body which 
lived, suffered, and enjoyed while on earth, that was to 
awaken and come to life again at the last judgment. Jesus 
was to appear in the East, announced by angels' trumpets; 
the dead were to rise from the earth, and graves were 
placed in such a way that, in arising, those brought back 
to life should face the east. Such was the admitted ordi- 
nance of Christian cemeteries. This custom has been aban- 
doned since the passing away of faith, and to-day the bodies 
are buried in any position, just as the opening happens to 
be placed. Nor are churches built to face in any particular 
direction. But the principle of the Credo is absolute. Is 
as unquestionable as it is unacceptable. No educated, in- 



382 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

telligent, and honest-minded man admits, any longer, the 
resurrection of the body, unless he humbles his knowledge 
before a self-contradictory dogma. Such ideas belong to 
another age. 

As for the legend of the eternal torments of hell, where 
the bodies of the damned were to suffer without end, we may 
with difficulty conceive of the possibility of human reasoning 
having dictated the teachings of the church, when we read, 
in Bossuet 's books, phrases such as this : ' ' Thus ever living 
and ever dying, immortal that they may suffer, too strong 
to die, too weak to bear their pain, they shall wail eternally 
on beds of flame, racked by terrible and irremediable tor- 
ments. ' ' 

But that is what believers in a '^Good God" judged him 
capable of doing when he created human souls! What an 
aberration, and what blasphemy! 

Human bodies brought to life again! The idea is, in it- 
self, indefensible. Life beyond the grave is spent under 
conditions altogether different from those of earthly life. 
There can be no assimilation of food. What would organisms 
made like ours be good for? It is a state without any con- 
nection with the vital needs of human beings on our planet. 
Assuredly, those in the other sphere are not slaves of their 
digestive tubes, like the coarse dwellers on earth. They have 
different bodies! Are they fluid beings? In this other 
world, there are no Adam and Eve, nor Mars, nor Venus: 
^'Neque nuhent, neque nuhentur/' says the gospel. But it 
is quite impossible for us to conceive of unknown forms, and, 
I repeat, it is entirely out of the question. Can we even 
imagine what the mentality of a soul freed from earthly im- 
pressions might be ? The larva, if it were capable of reason- 
ing, could not guess what the life of the butterfly might be, 
though the question of its own existence is involved. And 
as for memory, could the butterfly— supposing that it were 
endowed with a memory — have any recollection of its former 
state ? 



CONCLUSIONS 383 

Despite difficulties, contradictions, and antitheses, let us 
note that the Christian religion is in agreement with Bud- 
dhism and its four hundred million believers in asking, in 
the prayer for the dead, for eternal repose. Requiem (eter- 
nam dona eis Domine! This repose bears a great resemblance 
to nirvana, to annihilation. 

But this immobility is found nowhere. The universe is 
a dynamism ruled by the spirit, and matter is but an ap- 
pearance, since atoms are governed by energy. All is in 
movement, all is in flux in the infinite. God, the Unknow- 
able, rules all, from the infinitely large to the infinitely small. 
The future life is a part of this whole. The designation 
''future life" is, moreover, relative and anthropomorphic, 
since what is the future for us, is now the present for those 
who lived before us, and since our ' ' present ' ' will be ' ' past ' ' 
in an approaching future. To put it in terms of the absolute, 
there is but an eternal present. Those who were alive a 
hundred years ago are now in ''the future life" which has 
become the present for them, and in a hundred years that 
life, which is now the future for us, will be the present. 

A fairly large number of occurrences would lead us to 
grant that all phenomena are permanent or simultaneous; 
that they take place in the midst of a universal soul to which 
our ideas of time are foreign. The future is seen. The past 
is also seen. It is as though there were a perpetual present. 

In eternity, which stands still, time does not exist. Our 
conception of it is connected with the movements of the earth. 

If we did not have a succession of years, of seasons, of 
days and nights, then there would be a motionless eternity 
instead of our calendar, instead of days, of hours, of minutes, 
of seconds. 

In absolute space there is no time. 

Each planet makes and measures its own time. Neptune's 
year equals one hundred and sixty-five of ours, Uranus 's 
eighty-four of ours, Saturn's thirty, Jupiter's twelve. A 



384 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

day on Mars lasts twenty-four hours and thirty-nine min- 
utes ; our days might last as long as that or longer, and to us 
they would still be days. 

Considered in itself, time does not exist. 

Since time has no real existence, the future, as well as the 
past, is the present. All occurrences are determined by 
the causes which produce them. The human will is a part of 
the forces at work in nature. 

This is not a theory; these are facts. Readers of this 
work have learned as much through the large number of 
future happenings seen beforehand. 

Metaphysical analysis, therefore, as well as scientific ob- 
servation proves that time has no existence in itself, that 
occurrences may be seen beforehand, and that everything is 
in the present. 

Since time does not exist, that which remains of us after 
death — the soul, the spirit, the psychic entity, whatever name 
one gives it and whatever its nature be — ceases to belong 
to what we call "time" when we are alive. To the thinking 
being, which may live on, there are neither years, nor days, 
nor hours. The relative gives way to the absolute. 

That which underlies appearances, "the thing in itself" 
of which Kant speaks, the essence of things, has nothing in 
common with our ideas of the past or the future, and any 
happening may be as easily perceived before it takes place 
as afterward. To a being beyond the sphere of time, our 
terrestrial ideas of the past and the future wear different 
aspects. Yesterday and to-morrow are to-day. 

Nevertheless, there is a continuity. What we call the sur- 
vival of the soul must not be taken to mean merely the con- 
servation of an indestructible psychic atom, with no con- 
sciousness of itself, but the persistence of a thinking entity, 
endowed with memory. 

The soul is an invisible, impalpable, imponderable sub- 
stance ; it cannot be perceived under our physical conditions 



CONCLUSIONS 385 

of observation. Nor can our measurements of space be ap- 
plied to it any more tban our measurements of time. It may 
manifest itself over distances of hundreds and thousands of 
kilometers. The occurrences given in our three volumes 
prove this. 

In a word, therefore, time and space, as, with our ideas 
of measurements, we conceive them to be, do not exist. It 
is a question of infinitude, of eternity. The distance from 
the earth to Sirius is no greater part of infinitude than that 
which lies between your left hand and your right. Elec- 
tricity has already accustomed us to rapid transmissions 
over distances. Light rays do not take two seconds to cross 
the space between the earth and the moon. There are trans- 
missions which may be called instantaneous. Time and space 
sometimes become one. 

Nor is space, on the other hand, what it seems to us. 
Our measurements of a practical nature are in three dimen- 
sions : length, breadth, and thickness. But there is a fourth 
dimension; there is hyperspace. The force of gravitation, 
which is not exerted on surfaces but penetrates bodies; the 
electromagnetic energy of ether; molecular chemistry — all 
these reveal a fourth dimension. The apparitions which we 
have read of have their being in this fourth-dimensional 
space. We saw, among other accounts, how Alfonso of 
Liguori was borne from his convent in the Kingdom of Naples 
to the bedside of Pope Clement XIV, in Rome ("At the 
Moment of Death," page 35) ; how Saint Anthony of Padua, 
preaching in Montpellier, showed himself in his convent 
(idem, page 36) ; how Saint Catharine de' Ricci, in Prato, 
talked with Saint Philip of Neri in Rome {idem, page 36). 
We read of Mademoiselle Sagee's double (idem, page 40) ; 
of Sir Came Rasehse in the House of Commons (idem, page 
47) ; of Mrs. Wilman (idem, page 48) ; of Miss Rhoda Clary 
(idem, page 55), et cetera. We have already made the as- 
sertion, based on precise scientific observations (idem, page 



386 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

59), that ^'a, man or a woman in good health may, in the 
form of a phantom, be in a spot other than that in which 
the normal body is." We might also cite proved calcula- 
tions as well as these accounts, but this is not the place to 
discuss them. Everything, however, is in agreement in lead- 
ing us to believe in the existence of a fourth dimension. An 
object or a man shut into a room by the four walls, the ceil- 
ing, and the floor, may leave that room. It would seem that 
the ultra-terrestrial life of the soul is passed in this fourth- 
dimensional space, already calculable by algebraic methods. 

Do souls take on a form? What is Saint Paul's "spiritual 
body," the theosophists' "astral body," the occultists' 
"ethereal body"? 

Cases in which "doubles" have appeared may be instruc- 
tive to us. We made a special choice of certain examples of 
these in Volume II, and we have encountered them during 
the entire course of our work. There are, indubitably, three 
elements in a human being: the thinking soul, the fluid 
double, and the physical body. This double is governed bj?' 
the soul and has been analyzed under more than one aspect. 
It was the double which, in the middle of the last century, 
Reichenbach studied under the name Od, sl word taken from 
the Sanskrit, meaning "that which penetrates everywhere." 
The word does not mean ether, however. All psychists have 
the works of this writer in their libraries, as well as those of 
the man who continued his work. Colonel A. de Rochas. The 
odic body is the aura investigated by occultists, the human 
emanation visible to sensitives and even to certain normal 
eyes, after suitable preparation. It is this fluid which comes 
into play in experiments in levitation, in cases of apparitions, 
and of more than one posthumous manifestation. It sur- 
vives molecular disintegration. When I was present at the 
experiments of my friend Colonel de Rochas, at the Poly- 
technic School, and also at those of Dr. Baraduc in his labora- 
tory, we could not help thinking that the "doubles" inves- 



CONCLUSIONS 387 

tigated in our era were those which figured in the rites of the 
ancient Egyptian religion. Innumerable representations of 
them have been preserved, representations four thousand 
years old. These traditions would seem to have been lost. 

Charles du Prel, a Bavarian savant (1839-99) of French 
extraction/ to whom the psychic sciences owe important in- 
vestigations, reached the conclusion, after thirty years of 
study, that the soul is not spirit alone but a spirit that is 
joined to a transcendental body, which he likens to Keichen- 
bach's Od. According to his way of thinking, this ethereal, 
odic body comes into play in hypnotic and spiritistic mani- 
festations. It is the occultists' and the theosophists ' ''astral 
body, ' ' endowed with its own special forces. According to 
this theory it survives the physical organism, has a direct 
connection with the universal ether, can penetrate matter, 
and creates, at times, substantial phantoms such as those de- 
scribed by Crookes and other observers. This astral body 
exists during life (it is said) as well as after death. In 
this connection, it reminds us of Kant's idea that ''after this 
life the human soul is bound simultaneously to two worlds" 
and that "when, at last, the union of the soul and the body 
ceases with death, the soul's life in the Beyond is the natural 
continuation of the affinity which it has already had with 
this Beyond." ("Dreams of a Seer," 20-25.) 

If the human soul survives the physical organism, it ex- 
isted before this physical organism ; there is the same eternity 
behind us as before us. The fundamental objection made to 
this is that we remember nothing. It is not unanswerable, 
for every one of us is born with personal faculties which do 
not come from heredity, and, on the other hand, some people 
have more or less definite recollections of an unknown past. 

1 Le Prel is in the possession of the Saint-Claude Monastery 
( Franche-Comte ) . See du Prel's book La Mort, VAu-dela, la Vie dans 
VAu-dela, published by Madame Hsemmerle and Colonel de Rochas 
(Paris, 1905). 



388 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Eternal life can be understood only according to the prin- 
ciple of reincarnation laid down by Pythagoras, Origen, 
Jean Reynand, and so many other philosophers. We have 
not the space in the present volume in which to discuss this 
tremendous question, but we must accept the principle of 
reincarnation. 

In our total ignorance, from a scientific point of view, of 
the conditions of ultra-terrestrial life, we can only make con- 
jectures as to this life. We know, and shall know hence- 
forth, that the soul exists. To admit this survival leads us 
to admit preexistence. Earthly life is but a phase in the 
life of the spirit. The doctrine of reincarnation is, more- 
over, the only one which remains admissible after we have 
pondered all metaphysical considerations, and it is the oldest 
of definite religious beliefs. There must be both a previous 
existence and an after life. 

The discussion of this great problem would take up a whole 
book. From the historical point of view alone we should 
have to go back to Origen, one of the most learned fathers of 
the Church, and still farther back — to Pythagoras, to Manu, 
to Buddha. The arguments in favor of preexistence have 
indisputable value.^ The principal argument is the inequal- 
ity of human beings, from the time of their birth. There are 
mental inequalities which cannot be attributed to heredity, 
special aptitudes for sciences and arts, innate predispositions, 
and convictions dating from childhood, which could not have 
been acquired previously, in this life. Another argument is 
that people have recollections more or less vague, more or 
less precise, of things "already seen," of sounds "already 
heard"; sensations that are most marked with certain men 
and women, and that are inexplicable save by the hypothesis 
of reincarnation. 

1 See, in particular, the book by Andre Pezzani, the laureate of the 
Institute, La Pluralite des existences de Vdrne, conforme a la doctrine 
de la pluralit4 des mondes (1865): The chapter on Jean Reynaud, 
Henri Martin, Flammarion. 



CONCLUSIONS 389 

Each of us, I repeat, enters this world with special apti- 
tudes, the origin of which cannot be found in heredity. I 
know a family in which there are five boys. They differ 
entirely, radically, as though they were of different races. 
A hundred, a thousand such examples might be given. 

All accumulated memories of the past remain latent in 
the depths of us, in a subconscious mind independent of the 
brain. The memory of that which occurred in a former 
life is not recorded on the brain. 

In our tastes, our preferences, our impressions, our in- 
tuitions, our dreams, our recollections, our sympathies, and 
our antipathies, it is the self which existed previous to ter- 
restrial birth that emerges more or less vaguely. 

One of my friends has, as a companion, a lovable and 
distinguished wife. Her disposition is unfailingly gay in 
normal, everyday life; she is a charming model of perpetual 
good humor. But her dreams are terribly sad and often so 
painful that they make her weep. 

There are two beings in us from the point of view of mem- 
ory; two memories which are usually combined but are at 
times perfectly distinct. 

The chief objection made to the theory of preexistence 
is that we have no precise recollections of our previous lives. 
Of what use is it to have lived if we cannot remember 
having done so? Is memory not the essence of personality? 
One may answer this objection by saying that upon enter- 
ing earthly life, the physical organism brings with it new 
conditions and a brain endowed with new recording capac- 
ities for transitory memories. It may further be answered 
by the statement that we do not remember the thousandth 
part of what has happened since our birth, and that the 
souPs inherent memory cannot function except during its 
freedom in the intervals between incarnations. In our sub- 
conscious minds there is knowledge, there are thoughts which 
belong to our former existences, and cerebral thoughts born 



390 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

of our present existence. The first are truer, deeper than 
the second and more firmly based on reality. 

In the case of certain people, recollections of the occur- 
rences of a former life have been very distinct. Our pre- 
vious existences have been a preparation for the present life. 
The present life is a preparation for the existence to come. 

The soul brings with it, in assuming bodily form, the apti- 
tudes resulting from knowledge previously acquired. Among 
other child prodigies we might mention Pic de la Mirandole, 
Pascal, Mozart, and Saint-Saens. Parents give physical life 
to their children, at birth, not intellectual and moral quali- 
ties. 

I have often heard the objection that if reincarnation is 
a law of nature, communication with the dead is impossible. 
We may answer that, as a matter of fact, such communica- 
tion occurs infrequently, but that in any case there is noth- 
ing to prove that reincarnation takes place, of necessity, at 
once. Since we know, as yet, almost nothing of this other 
world, all is still to be learned. Our present research will 
result in the complete transformation of the various religious 
doctrines as to the future life. The dead who communicate 
with us speak neither of paradise, nor of hell, nor the 
gardens of Islam, nor the Elysian Fields of the Greeks, nor 
the Hindu nirvana. We may say with Monsieur Alfred 
Benezech and with Conan Doyle that we are witnessing an 
intellectual movement which will revolutionize the trend of 
human thought, — the most important movement since the ad- 
vent of Christianity. 

From the philosophic and religious point of view, let us 
be Pythagoreans who have reappeared in the twentieth cen- 
tury, with its astronomical knowledge. 

Whether definite or not, the belief in a future life dom- 
inates all nations, in spite of uncertainty and denial. Under 
some form or other, immortality allures human hopes, to-day 
as in the time of the Gauls and the Romans. Revolutions 



CONCLUSIONS 391 

have altered this in no way; Robespierre presided at the 
festival of the "Supreme Being'," and, until recently, on the 
front of the church near my observatory in Juvisy could be 
read this inscription, in large letters: ''The French people 
acknowledges the existence of God and the immortality of 
the soul." This soul is believed in in all latitudes. In 
Japan, at the present day (as was recently seen at the funeral 
of Lafcadio Hearn, the writer, in Tokio) little cages are 
opened, setting birds at liberty: a touching symbol of the 
flight of the soul from its terrestrial prison. 

FVom existence to existence, psychic life lifts us by a 
progressive evolution. Each of us has been mineral mat- 
ter, vegetable matter, and animal matter before becoming a 
man, and Man is not the last stage. We are, as yet, most 
inferior. 

Our life after death will vary according to our prepara- 
tions for it. We are what we make ourselves. The the- 
osophists' Karma is real. Those who live only for matter 
and by matter will not enjoy the pleasures of the spirit. 
Plainly, voluptuaries, wedded to the flesh, will be disap- 
pointed; sensualists will long be delayed in their evolution. 
Spiritual progress is not the same for all. Reincarnation 
is bound up with intellectual and moral qualities. 

There is no reason for thinking that the reincarnations 
of the human soul are limited to our planet. Nor is it un- 
scientific to attribute to psychic monads the faculty of voy- 
aging through the immensities of space, of passing from one 
planet to another — from the earth to Mars, Venus, or some 
other world. Science has recently demonstrated that ions 
and electrons are borne almost instantaneously across the 
one hundred and fifty million kilometers which lie between 
the earth and the sun. During the magnetic storms of the 
solar photosphere, the sun's ions reach us; they pull the 
needles of compasses out of their proper direction and cause 
disturbances of our terrestrial electricity. 



392 DEATH AND ITS MYSTERY 

Since there can be telepathic transmissions over vast dis- 
tances, it would not be unreasonable for astronomers to hope, 
as we remarked above, that the day is perhaps not distant 
when psychic communication might be established between 
a planet of our solar system and the earth. As regards telep- 
athy, space is non-existent. 'AH these aspects cannot be 
gone into deeply. My readers had a glimpse of them in 
'* Lumen," half a century ago. 

The conclusions which we have reached are the result of 
independent, individual labor, carried on without predilec- 
tion for any belief or any religious system.^ It is note- 
worthy, from the historical point of view, that these conclu- 
sions are in conformity with the teachings of occultism, the 
esoteric traditions common to India, to Egypt, to Chaldea, 
to Persia, to Greece, to the Hebrews, to the Essenes, to Caba- 
lism, and to the alchemists of the middle ages. 

Most of the subjects discussed in the chapters of these 
three volumes — doubles, telepathic transmissions, manifesta- 
tions after death, and apparitions — ^we find in the Book of 
the Dead, in the Rig- Veda, in the Zend-Avesta, in the Bud- 
dhists' Tripitaka, in the Mahabharata, in the Laws of Manu, 
and in the Bible. We should be less surprised by this close 
relation between the ancient and modern perceptions of the 
same truth — conclusions reached at periods several thousand 
years apart and by methods wholly dissimilar — than was the 
first Jesuit missionary who arrived in China upon learning 
that the myth of a child god, born of a virgin, had been 
taught there for five thousand years. 

Are we returning, therefore, in our twentieth century, to 
doctrines enunciated seven thousand years ago? Yes, and 
no. Yes, in the sense that the ancients knew more about 
these things than is generally supposed. No, in the sense 

1 The first precept of Pythagoras's Golden Verses may be translated 
as follows: "Let human beings devise their religions, but have your 



CONCLUSIONS 393 

that present scientific methods have brought practical con- 
firmation and the beginning of an explanation. 



"Whatever additional information may be added to that 
gathered from the preceding occurrences, from this time on 
we may be certain — and our certainty is based on scientific 
proofs — that the soul survives after the last earthly breath 
has been drawn. The soul is independent of the material 
organism and continues to live on after death. 

Assuredly, v^e are far from knowing everything. There 
are difficulties, obscurities, and enigmas which remain in- 
soluble to our human faculties. Proofs of survival are rare 
and exceptional. A limitless, unknown region surrounds us : 
we have not attained to a knowledge of reality. If we ap- 
proach it in some measure, let us be satisfied; instead of 
slumbering in the night we shall awaken at the dawn. 

Since this is the first time that a work of the sort has 
been written, and since no mortal has been able, thus far, 
to lift the veil of Isis, I dare not claim to have entirely solved 
our tremendous problem; but I hope that the present work 
will not prove fruitless. I have only cleared the ground and 
opened a way for the new science. The future will pass 
judgment on the results of my efforts. We have acted upon 
the counsel of Jesus: ^'Seek, and ye shall find." However 
far future discoveries may carry us, the doctrines which we 
have acquired may henceforth be summed up in these words : 
The body dies. The soul lives on in the infinite and the 
eternal. 



-irC_^^ A/.